Seahawks are scheduled to have the 21st pick in the first round of the draft, which will be held April 27-29.
The final tick of the clock at the Super Bowl, and the setting of the NFL draft order, means it’s now officially Mock Draft Season.
The past few days have seen a number of draft analysts present their first looks at how they envision the first round playing out, and while there is far from a consensus in which particular players they peg for the Seahawks, there is some uniformity in the positions. Mostly, analysts see Seattle looking to beef up its defense — and, in part, because that’s also where the strength of this draft appears to lie — particularly with edge rushers and defensive backs.
As a reminder, the Seahawks have the 21st overall pick in the first round. That’s one of just four picks Seattle is currently scheduled to have as the Seahawks traded away their second (Duane Brown), sixth (Brett Hundley) and seventh (Shalom Luani) round selections.
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The Seahawks are likely to try to acquire more picks, and could well do so by trading down or out of the first round, as they have often done since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010. That means that the most accurate mock draft for Seattle is one that trades the pick away somewhere.
But for now, 21st is where the Seahawks are, and if nothing else, the mock drafts provide a good look at the players who figure to be available when Seattle picks at that spot if they do.
Here’s a look at some of the top mock drafts and their selection for the Seahawks, as well as my comment.
THE PICK: Jachai Polite, edge rusher, Florida
WHAT THEY SAID: “Frank Clark’s impending free agency creates a need at the EDGE position, but even if Clark returns to Seattle, the front office has to focus on getting younger on defense with linebacker Bobby Wagner set as the foundation they’ll build around. Jachai Polite is built like Melvin Ingram at around 6’2″ and 245 pounds, but he has excellent length that allows him to long-arm offensive tackles and bend around the edge. He’s quick, powerful and instinctive as a pass-rusher. With or without Clark, the Seahawks have to get back to being a dominant pass-rushing team. Polite’s ability to play immediately while offering potential for the future makes him very appealing here.”
MY COMMENT: Hard to argue any of that, though I think Clark’s 2019 status, at the least, will be settled by the time the draft rolls around, with Seattle thought likely to franchise him (which it can do beginning Feb. 19) to assure he stays with the team in 2019 and continue working toward a long-term deal. But even then, you can never have too much pass rush, as coach Pete Carroll has said numerous times. And other than Clark, Seattle didn’t have enough of it on the edge this year.
THE PICK: Trayvon Mullen, cornerback, Clemson
MY COMMENT: Sensible reasoning here, as well. Coleman is now an unrestricted free agent after making $2.9 million as a restricted free agent last year, and if he’s going to command a lot more than that, then Seattle may not bother getting involved, set at the moment on the outside with Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers (each on rookie contracts) and with a couple of other young corners it likes on the roster (Kalan Reed, Simeon Thomas). But it’s worth remembering Seattle has not drafted a corner higher than the third round in the Carroll/Schneider era and after taking corners who have turned into starters in the draft each of the last two years, might look to other positions at the top of the draft this year.
THE PICK: Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson
MY COMMENT: At 6-4, 265, he looks like almost a mirror image of Clark (who is listed at 6-3, 265) and his pedigree is obvious after winning the Ted Hendricks Award, awarded to the nation’s top defensive end. As we said earlier, you can never have enough pass rush.
THE PICK: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
WHAT THEY SAID: “The best safety in this year’s draft, Thompson had a breakout season as a redshirt junior. Nick Saban’s defensive backs are always coached up, and Thompson has the kind of instincts and range to step into Earl Thomas’s old spot in Seattle’s secondary.”
MY COMMENT: The comparison to Thomas above couldn’t be more apt. In fact, consider this amazing coincidence — Thomas and Thompson are each from Orange, Texas, and each went to West Orange-Stark High School. In 2014 as a high schooler, Thompson attended Thomas’ camp (video here). The two also shared a little Twitter exchange in 2016. So yeah, this would be quite the storyline if Seattle drafted one player from Orange to replace another.
THE PICK: Thompson
WHAT THEY SAID: “The reign of the ‘Legion of Boom’ has ended, but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks can’t reload and try to build the next version. That starts with finding a rangy, athletic and physical playmaker at safety to replace Earl Thomas, and Thompson has all the traits to make it happen.”
MY COMMENT: One last note on Thompson — he just this week had assault charges dropped, which will at least make his draft process a little less complicated.
THE PICK: Polite
WHAT THEY SAID: “The Seahawks were lost trying to replace Cliff Avril’s production this past season. Polite solves that as he’s a speed rusher that will feast on unathletic tackles.’
MY COMMENT: The Seahawks undoubtedly will notice that Polite forced six fumbles last season and was one of only two players in the country with ore than 10 sacks at least five forced fumbles. The strip sack was an Avril specialty and as noted lots of times already, Seattle could use a pass rusher to pair alongside Clark.
THE PICK: Greedy Williams, cornerback, LSU
WHAT THEY SAID: “The Seahawks secondary ain’t what it used to be. After a promising rookie season, Shaquill Griffin regressed in 2018 and the options outside of him on the outside are all question marks. While Williams has some consistency issues that must be cleaned up, his physical skill set is exactly what teams are looking for in an outside guy. He features good length, fluidity, foot quickness and vertical speed to become a top cover guy in the NFL. His raw physical talent is something I can see Seattle gravitating towards.”
MY COMMENT: At 6-3, 184, Williams has the kind of frame the Seahawks — and, to be fair, almost everyone in the NFL — covets. Williams sat out the Fiesta Bowl, but that hasn’t proven to matter to NFL teams once draft time rolls around. As Marino points out, if the Seahawks were to really go with a corner this high it would definitely say something about what they think of Griffin, who is entering his third season in 2019. The coaches seemed to talk more positively of Griffin’s play this season than others did, especially since he was moving to the more challenging left side of the defense after playing the right side as a rookie in 2017 (which those who simply say he regressed should keep in mind).
THE PICK: Zach Allen, defensive end, Boston College
WHAT THEY SAID: “Seattle likely will have to pony up to retain Frank Clark after a breakout season in which he posted 14 sacks, but another edge presence likely would be of interest to Pete Carroll even if the Pro Bowl selection returns. Though Allen doesn’t boast the traits of a defensive end who would post double-digit sacks, his run-stopping ability and persistent motor could make him a pest for opponents.”
MY COMMENT: “Run-stopping ability” a notable phrase listed above. Seattle needs lots of that, too. As noted earlier, this is thought to be a draft particularly strong in defensive linemen, and Seattle — if it stays at 21 — is going to have a lot of options to beef up the line.
THE PICK: Jeffery Simmons, defensive line, Mississippi State
WHAT THEY SAID: “Simmons won’t be at the combine due to his history. Before attending Mississippi State, video emerged of Simmons punching a woman. While that should never be excused, Simmons has not been in any trouble since getting to Starkville, and he’s been a terrific player on the field. Some teams will be scared off him due to his past, but the Seahawks have taken chances on players like this before.”
MY COMMENT: There seems to be a lot of thought that Simmons is going to go a lot higher than where Seattle picks at 21, even despite his high school trouble and the lack of a combine invite. But if he is there at 21 he might be hard for Seattle to turn down. Listed at 6-4, 300, he looks like the perfect player to pair with Jarran Reed at tackle where Seattle has some uncertainty with Shamar Stephen now a free agent and Poona Ford and Nazair Jones as backups.
THE PICK: Nasir Adderley, safety, Delaware
WHAT THEY SAID: “The Seahawks have long loved a plus athlete, and based on his film, Adderley looks like one. We’ll find out for sure in about a month at the combine. Anyway, the springy FCS safety has impeccable range thanks to his explosiveness and ability to sustain speed, and Seattle could use more youth on the back end of its defense.”
MY COMMENT: Adderley also played cornerback early in his college career and can return kicks, the kind of versatility any team can use, and was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl with five tackles and an interception. His 40 time at the combine will be one to watch.
THE PICK: Ferrell
WHAT THEY SAID: “Even if Frank Clark stays with Seattle, the team could use another edge rusher. Ferrell totaled 55 tackles with 11.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, four passes batted and three forced fumbles in 2018. In 2017, Clemson fielded a defensive line that was comprised of future first-round picks, and some sources think that Ferrell created some of the big plays for the other Clemson defensive linemen that season. For 2017, he totaled 66 tackles with 18 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, one pass batted and two forced fumbles. Fellow defensive end Austin Bryant spent 2017 playing himself into being an early-rounder, but Bryant did well at cleaning up a lot of scrambling quarterbacks running away from Ferrell. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ferrell has quickness, athleticism, instincts, and the ability to bend around the corner. He looks like an edge rusher with double-digit sack potential in the NFL.”
MY COMMENT: Another vote for Ferrell here. And it’s worth remembering Seattle has taken a defensive linemen in the first three rounds of the draft six times since 2012.
THE PICK: Jerry Tillery, defensive line, Notre Dame
WHAT THEY SAID: “Tillery ran hot and cold for Notre Dame, but when he was on he is able to make a big impact from the outside and inside. For Seattle, he can be the player that Malik McDowell, unfortunately, never became because of injuries.”
MY COMMENT: Ugh, a Malik McDowell mention. But no doubt, the flameout of McDowell is one reason Seattle is in the market for another young, playmaker up front. Here’s another good write-up on the 6-5, 306-pound Tillery from The Draft Network, concluding: “Jerry Tillery enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, showing much better conditioning and mobility along the line of scrimmage. If able to sustain that development, Tillery projects as an eventual starter. In the immediate time frame, Tillery projects as a power pass rusher who wins most when allowed to charge hard out of his stance and push up the field in an effort to reset the line of scrimmage.”
THE PICK: Brian Burns, edge Florida State
WHAT THEY SAID: “Frank Clark is an impending free agent. Even if he returns, Seattle could use some more pass-rushing help. At 235 pounds, Brian Burns is much lighter than your typical edge player, but he makes up for it with a 6-5 frame and excellent speed and bend. Head coach Pete Carroll has taken lighter, quicker pass-rushers in the past — most notably Bruce Irvin — so Burns could be a fit here.”
MY COMMENT: And here you go, another edge player pegged for the Seahawks. The Irvin comparison above seems apt. But Seattle also has a similar player on the roster it is grooming right now in Jacob Martin and might not want another player it has to maybe wait on for a year or so before getting significant production.