What NFL teams need in the draft can change rapidly this time of year based on free agency, trades, etc.
So, as the Seahawks and the 31 other teams get set for what will be the 85th draft in NFL history beginning Thursday — and the 45th for Seattle — here is one final rating of the Seahawks’ needs:
1. Defensive ends/rush ends: OK, so this ranking hasn’t changed one bit since the offseason began. The Seahawks needed to improve their pass rush when the 2019 season ended and it still feels as if the job is incomplete with Jadeveon Clowney remaining unsigned. They added Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa but also lost Quinton Jefferson.
2. Defensive tackle: The interior line also needs addressing. The Seahawks re-signed Jarran Reed and returns Poona Ford, so it’s set with two starters. And maybe the Seahawks are still waiting to add an Al Woods-type veteran to replace, well, Al Woods as a third rotational player. But a tackle somewhere up high wouldn’t be a surprise.
3. Wide receiver: Based on need — they could use another real difference maker to add to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf — and that this is regarded as a historically deep receiver class makes drafting a receiver seem almost a certainty. But because the receiver class is also regarded as really deep, drafting a receiver is not something the Seahawks need to do right at the top.
4. Running back: The Seahawks have just four running backs under contract, and its top two — Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny — are still rehabbing injuries and the Seahawks didn’t sign any veteran free agents. So an addition seems coming. They have Nick Bellore under contract at fullback and any additions at that spot figure to come through undrafted free agency.
5. Offensive line: The Seahawks have a ton on the roster — 18 to be exact. But some are getting old, many are unproven and few are under contract for very long.
6. Secondary: Seattle has a potential starter at each of the four main defensive back spots. But given the importance of the secondary in a Pete Carroll defense using a pick by the end of the second day (rounds 1-3) to beef up the back end can’t be ruled out.
7. Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and, probably, Cody Barton seem entrenched as the starters heading into the season. But a strongside linebacker who could double as a rush end would be intriguing.
8. Quarterback: With Russell Wilson around there’s no need for the Seahawks to invest a top-half-of-the-draft pick on a quarterback. But they do need to get a backup.
9. Tight end: There’s a crowded tight-end room with the addition of Greg Olsen to add to Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson. But tight ends provide a lot of versatility these days, and Seattle might be tempted if the right players falls in their lap.
10. Kicker/punter: None needed.