The final day of the NFL draft began fast and furious for the Seahawks on Saturday as they added three players in the span of 15 picks in the late fourth and early fifth rounds.
Then the pace slowed as they went 66 picks without making a selection.
After it appeared to have come to a complete halt — appearing out of draft choices — the Seahawks jumped back in, finding one last player they just couldn’t resist adding by dealing a 2021 pick to Miami to get a seventh-rounder this year.
When all the Zooming had finally stopped in a most unconventional draft, the Seahawks had added five players Saturday and eight over the three-day period.
The players they added Saturday were:
- Stanford tight end Colby Parkinson at pick 133;
- Miami running back DeeJay Davis at pick 144;
- Syracuse defensive end Alton Robinson at pick 148;
- Florida receiver Freddie Swain at pick 214;
- LSU receiver/tight end Stephen Sullivan at pick 251.
All were players with substantial pedigrees from big-name schools, keeping with the Seahawks’ theme of trying to get as many players who may not only be able to contribute immediately but will be able to do so while navigating the limitations put in place because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s been important for us to try to acquire players who seem to be a little bit ahead of the curve from a learning standpoint in this current environment that we are in,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said.
The quintet added to the picks they made the first two days — Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks, Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor and LSU guard Damien Lewis.
Brooks, Taylor and Robinson were picked to help add to a pass rush that was lacking last season. The Seahawks had just 28 sacks, tied for the second fewest in the NFL.
“We’re really better than we’ve been,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of the additions to the pass rush, including the free-agent signings of Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa. “I think we have the depth that can really help us keep guys fast and fresh and keep a really good rotation going.”
The day began with what, on paper, might have seemed a surprise to get Parkinson to add to an already crowded tight-end room.
Carroll said this draft was also about adding to competition everywhere, even if not at a spot of obvious need.
“It can’t get better than this one,” Carroll said of the competition at the tight-end spot.
Parkinson, who had 48 receptions for 589 yards and one touchdown last year at Stanford, joins veteran Greg Olsen — who signed to a one-year contract with a guaranteed $5.5 million in February, the most guaranteed money the team gave to any outside free agent this year — Will Dissly, Luke Willson and Jacob Hollister, who last week signed his tender as a restricted free agent.
The Seahawks aren’t likely to keep five tight ends on its roster, so something will have to give.
But picks aren’t always made just for the present. Of the four veteran tight ends on Seattle’s roster, only Dissly is under contract beyond the 2020 season, so the Seahawks could also be looking to the future by taking the 6-7, 252-pound Parkinson.
Parkinson said in a conference call with Seattle reporters that he weighs 254 pounds and knows he has a reputation for being more of a receiving tight end, but the Seahawks told him he will be a “true” tight end for them, asked to fulfill the usual tight-end duties.
“I’m ready to step in and put my hand in the dirt and get ready to go in the running game,” Parkinson said.
Dallas, listed at 5-9, 215 pounds, ran for 691 yards on 115 carries last season at Miami and was a quarterback coming out of high school. He is the second running back the Seahawks have drafted from Miami in the last two years. They took Travis Homer in the sixth round a year ago.
Dallas has been projected by some as a third-down running back, a spot where Seattle needs some depth.
But the Seahawks also needed depth at running back with Chris Carson coming off a hip fracture and in the final year of his contract, and Rashaad Penny still rehabbing a knee injury. They had only two other running backs on the roster entering the draft — Homer and Adam Choice, an undrafted free agent a year ago who sat out the season with an injury.
“As far as fit goes, just honestly trying to get here and compete with the rest of the guys,” Dallas said in a conference call. “Just whatever is asked upon me I will do.”
Robinson, listed at 6-3, 259, adds to Seattle’s greatest need entering the draft — its pass rush. Robinson had 18.5 sacks in three years at Syracuse, including nine in 2018.
His selection capped a story of redemption that began with the lowest moment of Robinson’s life in 2016.
As a high-school senior at Judson High in San Antonio, Texas, who was already committed to Texas A&M, Robinson was charged with felony second-degree robbery following an incident with an ex-girlfriend in which it was alleged he took her cellphone after also taking her purse. According to reports at the time, the woman alleged that Robinson was hiding in the bushes near her driveway when he took the purse. Robinson reportedly dropped the purse as his ex-girlfriend chased him, but he allegedly took her cellphone.
Robinson had also allegedly committed a similar crime the year before and the charge meant he faced up to 20 years in prison. The charges were dropped in July 2017 due to an uncooperative witness, but his scholarship to Texas A&M was rescinded.
He ended up at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College for a season in 2016, and the following year he was admitted into Syracuse where he played his final three seasons.
In a conference call following his selection, Robinson said he was “immature” at the time and not representative of who he is now.
“(In high school) Me and my girlfriend at the time, we were in a relationship that was very immature,” he said. “The situation, I’m sure you can find it, it was very embarrassing. I embarrassed myself, and my high school, my family and everything like that. I definitely learned from it. I’m looking forward to being a Seahawk, and I can’t wait to get up to Seattle.”
Robinson said he is already well-acquainted with the Seattle area, having trained for a few months earlier this year at Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue. Robinson said it was recommended he train there by a former Syracuse teammate, linebacker Zaire Franklin.
While training there, he said he has done some individual work with former Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril and also has met Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
Of the work he’s done with Avril, Robinson said: “It was very position specific, more than anything. At the facility I was training at, we would go like three times a day, six days a week. When I got work with Cliff it was one or two days out of the week, and it was very position specific, to like body mechanics and things like that, which will be the difference between getting to the quarterback and getting the sack, and getting close to the quarterback. ”
He also knows Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers, who was a teammate at Judson High School.
After the blur of three picks early in the draft, the Seahawks waited for 65 picks to go by before they took Swain.
The 6-foot, 197-pounder projects as a slot receiver candidate who also handled punt returns — and a few kickoffs — at Florida. His ability as a returner could determine how serious of a candidate he would be to make the roster.
Swain had 38 catches for 517 yards and a team-high seven receiving touchdowns last year at Florida. He also had long punt return of 85 yards and a touchdown as a junior in 2018.
As the draft neared its conclusion the Seahawks swung the deal with the Dolphins and added Sullivan.
Sullivan is a former highly rated recruit who didn’t put up huge numbers at LSU — 46 receptions for 712 yards and three touchdowns in his career.
But the 6-5, 248-pounder was moved to tight end last season and impressed scouts at that position at the Senior Bowl.
Carroll was so awed that he sidled up to Sullivan and told him the Seahawks hoped to get him.
Carroll admitted that he kept his eye on Sullivan throughout the draft and urged Schneider to try to get him. Schneider said they almost chose him instead of Swain at the end of the sixth round.
Not only did they like his physical abilities but his story of overcoming a rugged upbringing that included some nights sleeping under an overpass and eventually moving in with the family of a good friend for his final three years of high school.
“This is one of my favorites because you look at him and you have to really project what he’s going to be like,” Carroll said. “And we were willing to do that.”