Nothing moves the needle of public perception for prospective NFL draft picks — good or bad — like the annual scouting combine.
And the minute it ends, those who dabble in the mock-draft world quickly get to updating their mock drafts based on what they’ve seen and heard.
Let’s take a look at what some of the more notable mock drafts, all updated since the combine last week, now predict for the Seahawks, who have the 27th pick in the first round.
The pick: Cornerback Trevon Diggs, Alabama.
What he said: “This is a perfect scheme for Diggs, who has elite ball skills.”
Condotta’s comment: Seattle reportedly had a meeting with Diggs at the combine (though it’s worth remembering teams are allowed 45 official meetings and unlimited informal ones, so all teams obviously meet with far more players than they will ever draft). Diggs was also one of just seven of the 35 cornerbacks there who had an arm length of 32 or more inches (32¾), which has often been seen as a demarcation point for Seattle’s interest in cornerbacks. He’s Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs’ younger brother.
The pick: Cornerback A.J. Terrell, Clemson.
What he said: “Terrell has the length (31¼-inch arms) and speed (4.42-second 40-yard dash) to excel at corner in the NFL but also possesses far smoother hips than most tall corners. After the way Tre Flowers was torched in the playoffs, Seattle can’t afford to pass on a deep corner class.”
Condotta’s comment: As noted above, Terrell actually doesn’t have Seattle’s preferred 32-inch arm length. The Seahawks might also be more prone to want to improve the pass rush as a way to improve the overall pass defense first, especially if Jadeveon Clowney gets away — and recall Seattle has never taken a corner before the first round (Shaquill Griffin in the third round the earliest the Seahawks have drafted a corner in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era). But there’s always a first time.
The pick: Defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, Auburn.
What he said: “No team’s defensive line will be more shaped by free agency than the Seattle Seahawks with Jadeveon Clowney and Jarran Reed both on expiring contracts. … Seattle promised not to franchise-tag Clowney, so the Seahawks will have to negotiate against the open market after trading for him before the 2019 season. After sending two players and a 2020 third-rounder to Houston for him, it stands to reason that general manager John Schneider will do all he can to keep Clowney.
“That creates a need on the inside, where Reed may not be back. Marlon Davidson at the end of Round 1 gives Seattle the push, penetration and power up front it likes in linemen. Davidson can play 5-technique all the way down to head-up on the center with his 6-3, 303-pound frame and has proved on film and in workouts that he has the talent to be a Day 1 contributor.”
Condotta’s comment: With or without Clowney (which wasn’t actually the rejected initial name idea for the famous U2 song) the Seahawks are going to need defensive linemen, so Davidson makes all kinds of sense. Miller produced a three-round draft and gave Seattle Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and Florida State cornerback Stanford Samuels III in the second round and Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson in the third with a pick he projects Seattle gets as compensation for losing Earl Thomas.
The pick: Linebacker Patrick Queen, LSU.
What he said: “Finding a versatile guided missile like Queen here would be perfect for the Seahawks. There’s a shot he goes at least five spots earlier, and there’s a chance for Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray to drop here. No matter what, a top defensive prospect — (Penn State defensive end Yetur) Gross-Matos would also be an ideal fit — is going off the board.”
Condotta’s comment: Queen wowed with a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine. Linebacker might not seem like Seattle’s biggest need after taking two last year. Conversely, K.J. Wright is entering the last year of his contract and while Cody Barton could be the long-term guy there, Seattle also needs a long-term solution at strongside linebacker. So taking another linebacker somewhere in the draft makes some sense.
The pick: DL Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma.
What he said: “Gallimore is a fireplug with a nonstop motor who excels against both the run and the pass. The Seahawks, who have a history of bucking convention in Round 1, also have needs along the defensive line after the unit ranked 21st against the run and 30th in pass-rushing last season, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics.”
Condotta’s comment: NFL.com’s scouting report on Gallimore gave him an interesting comparison — free-agent-to-be Quinton Jefferson. The Seahawks might well need to replace Jefferson.
The pick: Rush end Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
What he said: “The Seahawks will try to keep Jadeveon Clowney, but regardless, they need to upgrade their pass rush and edge-setting against the run. Gross-Matos (6-5, 266 pounds) is a well-built, explosive and versatile defender who can thrive in Pete Carroll’s scheme.”
Condotta’s comment: All of the above makes a ton of sense.
The pick: Offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, Georgia.
What he said: “Going into the combine, people were sleeping on the massive Wilson. Maybe it’s because he was only a redshirt sophomore and sat out Georgia’s bowl game. But the long-limbed, 350-pound right tackle looked good at the combine and may have pushed his way into the first round.”
Condotta’s comment: Seattle could lose tackles Germain Ifedi and George Fant in free agency (Ifedi much more likely of the two), and even if they don’t lose both, the Seahawks will undoubtedly want to dip in to what has been called an especially strong crop of offensive tackles in this draft.
The pick: A trade — Chargers give Nos. 37, 101, 167 to the Seahawks for the right to No. 27 so the Chargers can draft QB Jordan Love of Utah State.
What he said: “There has been some hype around Jordan Love since the Senior Bowl, and with that comes the possibility of him going much higher than this. However, I’m not totally buying that as of right now, but you do know that some quarterback is going to get taken near the end of the first round for the benefit of having the fifth year of that contract.”
Condotta’s comment: We all know the Seahawks love to trade their early picks to acquire more, which makes Sikkema’s projection intriguing to ponder. The trade mentioned above would mean the Seahawks would have five of the top 101 picks when considering they also have picks 59 and 64 and are expected to get a pick at 100, or right around there, as compensation for Thomas. The above trade would not technically be a good one for Seattle according to the draft pick value chart, which assigns a point value to each pick. Seattle would be giving up 680 points and getting 661 back. But such a trade would probably be pretty tempting in a draft that is being touted for its depth at a number of positions where Seattle has ample needs, such as offensive line, receiver, cornerback and the defensive line.