ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said Thursday he wouldn't be surprised to see the Seahawks take a receiver in the first round, and listed four as particularly intriguing candidates.

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That Seattle has the 31st pick in the draft makes trying to figure out what the Seahawks will do “very difficult to predict right now,” said ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. this morning when he held a post-Combine conference call with reporters.

But asked to take a guess, Kiper said the positions he thinks make the most sense for Seattle are “wide receiver, corner, offensive line, tight end and defensive line.”

Kiper said receiver may make the most sense given Seattle’s needs at that spot and the depth of receivers available.

“There are going to be some interesting wide receivers there that could be attractive,” Kiper said.

Four he mentioned that would likely be available are: Devin Smith of Ohio State, Phillip Dorsett of Miami, Breshad Perriman of Central Florida and Dorial Green-Beckham of Oklahoma.

Dorsett, recall, ran a 4.33 40 at the Combine to earn $100,000 from Adidas as one of the fastest players there. Kiper had Dorsett headed to Seattle in his pre-Combine mock draft, writing:

“Another player who shined in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Dorsett would offer Seattle something they simply don’t have on the roster right now, which is a player who can consistently create space with quickness in the passing game. The Seahawks are simply far too reliant on Russell Wilson’s ability to extend plays and allow wide receivers time to get open, and Dorsett is a Porsche in terms of acceleration and the ability to start fast and stop quickly. He also can beat you deep if you let him to run in a straight line. Remember that Paul Richardson will be coming off an ACL surgery recovery period as the 2015 season starts, so an already thin wide receiving corps isn’t a given to be better without any additions.”

Smith clocked a 4.42 and was the deep threat for Ohio State’s national title team, averaging 28.2 yards per reception. Perriman didn’t work out at the Combine but Kiper earlier wrote this about him:

“One of the bigger sleepers in the 2015 draft class at this point, Perriman is a player I’ve grown to really like as I’ve spent more time going through his tape. At one time I had him as a likely second-round pick, but now I see him as a close call in terms of overall ability next to the top few wide receivers in this class. He’s got size, and strength, and is going to run really fast at the combine and be a guy who can both stretch defenses vertically and also make plays over the middle and in traffic. He’s also got great bloodlines, as I scouted his father (Brett) when he played for Miami. (Brett was a really good in the NFL, too.)”

Green-Beckham, who was booted out of Missouri and then transferred to Oklahoma without playing, is one of the real wildcards in the draft due to his off-field issues. But he ran 4.50 and 4.49 at the Combine, measuring at 6-5, 237, and somebody will take a chance early.

Kiper also said “a good corner” could slide to where Seattle will pick and also that a good defensive linemen could be found there.

What Kiper said the Seahawks should not do with their first pick is take a running back — in fact, he said no team should take one saying it’s such a deep class at that spot, with not a lot separating the players, that “you’re going to get bargains at running back. You could get a running back in the fifth or sixth round. … I don’t believe in taking running backs in the first round. Even though they are highly-regarded, I don’t know if you need to take one in round one.”

Here are a few more thoughts from Kiper:

— He agreed with the general assessment that it’s not a great class of tight ends and that many of the top players — such as Maxx Williams of Minnesota and Nick O’Leary of Florida State — did not impress at the Combine. “None of these guys really distinguished themselves,” Kiper said.

— Kiper said he still thinks UW’s Shaq Thompson is an “early-to-mid second round pick, maybe late first” but said teams still debate what position he should play, despite Thompson’s insistence at the Combine that he wants to be a linebacker. Kiper said Thompson’s best spot may be as a strongside linebacker (the spot Bruce Irvin plays for Seattle, for instance).

— Kiper said UW’s Hau’oli Kikaha, who did not run a 40 at the Combine due to a recent illness, has a chance to move into the third round or so if he performs well at Washington’s Pro Day on April 2, noting that some other players at that spot, such as TCU’s Paul Dawson, had disappointing Combine numbers. “If he has a real good workout, he could maybe move up a little bit ahead of those guys,” Kiper said. “If he nails it, he could be a third-round pick.”

— Asked if he thought Cleveland could get UW’s Danny Shelton with the No. 12 pick, he said no. “I don’t think Danny Shelton is going to be there,” he said.

Here are a few other Seahawks/draft links this morning. …

— Some of the experts debated Seattle’s draft and think the Seahawks may take a cornerback.

— Charles Davis of also sees Seattle taking a receiver, but not any of the ones Kiper mentioned. Instead, he has Seattle going with Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong, writing: “The Seahawks saw what a big-bodied wide receiver can do to defenses in the Super Bowl with the surprise play of Chris Matthews. Strong can go get it.”

— Richard Sherman will be honored as the NFL 101 NFC Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday.

— Some interesting draft thoughts from

— Only one Seahawk on the list of the top 75 unrestricted free agents — Byron Maxwell at No. 20. That’s obviously a good thing.

— with a good post-Combine roundtable.

— Finally, an enlightening first-person essay from Brandon Bostick, on what life has been like since botching the on-side kick for Green Bay in the NFC title game.