Second-round pick Ethan Pocic is finally set to get some playing time on the offensive line, so here's mid-season progress report on the Seahawks' 11-man 2017 draft class.
The Seahawks rose to prominence under coach Pete Carroll with NFL draft classes that quickly announced their presence, almost absurdly.
In 2010 first-round picks Russell Okung (left tackle) and Earl Thomas (free safety) stepped into starting roles from day one. Receiver Golden Tate and strong safety Kam Chancellor gave early glimpses of what was to come.
In 2011, mid-round picks K.J. Wright (linebacker) and Richard Sherman (cornerback) became starters in the first half of their rookie season, beginning to transform the defense into a juggernaut.
In 2012, quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner became immediate stars, lifting the Seahawks to Super Bowl contending status, seemingly overnight.
It would be nice to get that kind of immediate help every year. But there is a reason those three drafts are considered among the top five or so in the franchise’s 42 years — that just doesn’t happen very often.
Which brings us to the 2017 draft class, which got off to a rocky start in July when the Seahawks’ first pick, defensive lineman Malik McDowell, suffered a severe concussion in an ATV accident. He has yet to practice, and it’s uncertain if he will play this season. He was cleared two weeks ago to begin conditioning.
And the draft class took another hit Oct. 1 when running back Chris Carson — who was emerging as the most pleasant surprise of the entire draft — suffered an ankle injury that required surgery. He is out at least two months.
But as the season takes another turn — from the bye week to finishing with 11 games in 11 weeks — Seattle will hope for increasing impact from much of the rest of its draft class, beginning with Sunday when second-round pick Ethan Pocic is expected to make his debut filling in, along with veteran Mark Glowinski, at left guard for the injured Luke Joeckel.
Here’s an update on the entire 11-man class:
Round 2, Pick 35 – Malik McDowell, DE
As noted above, McDowell has begun conditioning with trainers, a significant step. Seattle has a six-week window from now through Week 11 when it can activate McDowell from the Non-Football Injury list and have him return to practice. He could then practice for up to three weeks before he needs to be placed on either the 53-man roster or Injured Reserve. The key will be to watch each week if McDowell returns to practice. If so, there’s a good chance he’ll play this season. But if he has not returned to practice by Week 11, his season would be over.
Round 2, Pick 58 – Ethan Pocic, OL
Pocic has been active every game this season as the backup center and guard. He hasn’t been needed, though he has played 41 snaps on special teams. But that is expected to change Sunday with Seattle coaches saying Pocic likely will split time with Glowinski at left guard. Whoever plays better is likely to take over until Joeckel can return. It’s hard to know what to expect out of Pocic, and Seattle will give him time to develop.
Round 3, Pick 90 – Shaquill Griffin, CB
Griffin, who many thought could make an immediate impact given the needs in the secondary, hasn’t disappointed — his 256 snaps are by far the most of anyone in the rookie class. He has been a regular in the nickel package and against the Rams moved into the starting lineup in the base defense with Jeremy Lane sidelined. He could fill that role again this week, or even keep the job even when Lane returns.
Round 3, Pick 95 – Delano Hill, S
Hill has played just four snaps on defense as a backup strong safety but has played 45 snaps on special teams. The hope is that Seattle’s starting safeties stay healthy, making this a developmental year for Hill.
Round 3, Pick 102 – Nazair Jones, DT
Jones has fulfilled the Seahawks’ hopes this season, serving as a regular in the rotation at tackle — he has 101 snaps, third-most of any rookie and sixth-most of any defensive lineman.
Round 3, Pick 106 – Amara Darboh, WR
If there’s a young offensive skill player the Seahawks hope will stand out the rest of the season it’s Darboh. His season got off to a slow start because of injuries during training camp. Darboh has played 64 snaps, with almost half (34) coming in the past two games and has three catches for 26 yards on seven targets this season. He played a season-high 18 snaps against the Rams but didn’t have a target.
Round 4, Pick 111 – Tedric Thompson, S
Thompson is the team’s fifth safety and has been inactive on game day all but once — that coming against the Rams, against whom he didn’t play. As with Hill, this is a developmental year for Thompson, though the fact he hasn’t forced his way onto special teams indicates there’s some work to do.
Round 6, Pick 187 – Mike Tyson, CB
He made the transition from safety in training camp but was waived in the cutdown to 53 players and then re-signed to the practice squad, where he’s likely to remain all season.
Round 6, Pick 210 – Justin Senior, OT
Senior was placed on Injured Reserve in the preseason due to knee issues.
Round 7, Pick 226 – David Moore, WR
Moore also was waived in the cutdown to 53 and re-signed to the practice squad. He’s the only receiver on the practice squad (the Seahawks have often had two or more the past few years), so theoretically he’s an injury from making the 53.
Round 7, Pick 249 – Chris Carson, RB
Carson remains Seattle’s leading rusher with 208 yards on 49 carries on 152 snaps. He also has seven receptions for 59 yards. If he returns this season, he can’t do so until December.