Can the Seahawks get a few more picks in the 2021 NFL draft? Will they add a receiver any time soon?
Those questions and more in our latest Seahawks Twitter mailbag. Let’s get to it.
Question: @JohnnyZee32 asked: How many picks (do you) think we end up (with) on draft day? Can’t imagine we’ll only have three.
Answer: I can’t either.
Seattle, to refresh the memory here, currently holds just three picks in the draft, which will be held April 29-May 1 — 56th in the second round, 129th in the fourth and 250th in the seventh.
Seattle’s other choices were used in trades for Jamal Adams, Carlos Dunlap and Gabe Jackson.
So, by that estimation, you could argue the Seahawks already have had a pretty good draft, though obviously there are different financial implications and all that (at the moment, the combined cap hit for those three players in 2021 is roughly $12.5 million).
Seattle has not had fewer than eight picks during the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, and never fewer than five at any point in team history.
I think Seattle will get somewhere around those numbers — five and eight. So, let’s set the over-under of Seattle draft picks at 6.5.
Schneider has been here before. Seattle had just four choices entering the 2019 draft before turning that into 11.
But it’s worth remembering Seattle had its own first-round pick in 2019 and then got another with the trade of Frank Clark.
It won’t be as easy turning only one choice in the first 129 into a lot more draft capital.
But in terms of sheer number of picks, I think Seattle will make some moves to add to that number.
Seattle has 63 players under contract right now and will get to 90 by the time training camp arrives. So, there’s lots of room to add guys, and I think in a year like this the Seahawks will try to go again with a volume approach to the draft as best they can.
Q: @mcnaughton_zack asked: Do the Seahawks have any interest in a WR3 (third receiver) during free agency?
A: Yes. Seattle watched both David Moore (Carolina) and Phillip Dorsett (Jacksonville) sign with other teams early in free agency, and will undoubtedly sign a veteran at some point to add to the group that remains behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf (meaning, Freddie Swain, John Ursua, Penny Hart and then no one else who has seen action in a game for the Seahawks).
The Seahawks were reported to have shown interest in Sammy Watkins and Willie Snead before they signed with Baltimore and Las Vegas, respectively. They have also been reported as interested in former 49er Marquise Goodwin, who remains a free agent.
A fairly low-cost veteran is likely the way the Seahawks will go at this point, in part because that’s pretty much all that remains, unless you think Seattle might again want to get into the mix for Antonio Brown, who remains unsigned, reportedly wanting more from Tampa Bay than the Bucs want to give him for some reason.
There are a few other big-name vets who remain available, including Alshon Jeffrey, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dede Westbrook and, well, Golden Tate.
The guess here is the Seahawks will gobble up one of the vets who are still out there at some point.
The Seahawks, as all teams, can start their offseason programs April 19, and they might want to have any players they expect to really be factors in the offense on board by then to begin learning the scheme of new coordinator Shane Waldron.
Q: @SinnFein1916 asked: What’s the plan for Sam (strongside) Linebacker? How much of a pay cut will K.J. (Wright) accept in his depressed market? Are the Hawks confident (Cody) Barton could be an option there?
A: There hasn’t been a lot revealed on where things stand with Wright, other than a report last week that the Cowboys, for now, are not signing him.
It’s always hard to say what someone will accept without really having knowledge of negotiations, other than that Wright obviously is going to want the best deal he can get.
Assuming Seattle still wants him, the question at some point will be if he would take less — or substantially less — to stay if he has an offer from another team.
But no doubt, the market for Wright probably has not developed quite the way he hoped coming off a 2020 season in which he was one of the most valuable players for the Seahawks.
Markets were depressed for many veterans due to the lowered cap. Wright also will be 32 in July. And the role he played last year for Seattle — strongside backer in the base defense and then weakside in the nickel — might not be exactly the way other teams would view him, which could change their valuation.
Until Wright signs elsewhere you obviously can’t rule out that he returns.
If he does not, it would make sense that Seattle would try to find a veteran somewhere to add depth and competition at strongside linebacker.
But I also think Seattle may be intrigued by the idea of going with Jordyn Brooks as the full-time weakside linebacker and not taking him off the field in the nickel, and using Barton as the strongside linebacker in the base defense (which could mean he plays only 30-40% of the time or so).
For now, Seattle is a little shy on linebacker depth with just four under contract — Brooks, Barton, Bobby Wagner, Ben Burr-Kirven. So at some point, some additions to that group will have to be made.
Q: @BarlbySport asked: Does DeeJay Dallas fit into the potential new offense better than last year’s offense? As an ex-wide receiver, is he likely to get much use as one?
A: The assumption, of course, is that Seattle’s offense will now look a lot like that of the Rams with the hiring of Waldron as the new offensive coordinator.
And that might lead to the idea that the Seahawks will spread the ball to more players more often than they did a year ago, maybe making the running backs a bigger part of the passing game.
Interestingly, Seattle made more use of its backs in the passing game last year than did the Rams.
Of Seattle’s 537 targets last year, 98 went to running backs, resulting in 80 receptions for 585 yards and six touchdowns.
Of the Rams’ 562 targets, 71 went to running backs, resulting in 50 receptions for 444 yards and two touchdowns.
As you note, Dallas has a background as a receiver, beginning his college career at Miami at that position. That history was one of the reasons the Seahawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft (though I don’t really envision them moving him full time to receiver).
And Dallas did play substantially at times last season in the team’s third-down/two-minute back role, which puts an emphasis on receiving. Dallas’ 20 targets last year tied with Carlos Hyde for second most of any Seattle running back behind the 46 of Chris Carson, but in far fewer snaps than Hyde played (146 to Hyde’s 260).
Dallas caught 17 for 111 yards and a touchdown and a passer rating of 106.5 when targeted.
Dallas saw his playing time decrease at the end of the season (he was inactive for the final two regular-season games and the playoff), due in part to Carson and Hyde getting healthy.
But also, Dallas struggled some in blocking, specifically in blitz pickup, notably in an overtime defeat against Arizona. He had a blocking grade for the season of just 24.4 from Pro Football Focus (which grades on a 0-100 level), though he did improve as the year went on, with his three-highest blocking grades coming in his final three games of the season in which he was graded.
More consistent blocking will be a real key for Dallas earning not just more playing time in 2021, but first getting a roster spot at what will be a pretty competitive running-back position.
Seattle has Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer and Alex Collins along with Dallas, and with fullback Nick Bellore also back, there might be room for only four. Homer has played vital roles on special teams the past two years, which could give him an edge.
Will be a fun competition to watch.