Draft rumors: More QB bait, first-round TE?

NFL draftAmid rumors that John Schneider is talking with teams about a possible move up in this draft, he also appears to be prepping for his usual strategy — using a quarterback as bait to move down. But, in need of a backup QB, might he actually draft one?

A couple of years ago, the Seahawks had the chance to use one of their fourth-round picks on UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who seemed like he could be a perfect guy to groom as Russell Wilson’s backup.

Instead, the Seahawks drafted offensive lineman Terry Poole, who failed to make the team as a rookie or in 2016. And the Hawks moved on from Tarvaris Jackson in 2016, going with undrafted Trevone Boykin as Wilson’s backup.

After Boykin was arrested a few weeks ago, Schneider might be regretting his decision to pass on Hundley, who went to Green Bay in the fifth round of that 2015 draft. The Packers reportedly are poised to move him for a profit next year.

Schneider has been profiting off quarterbacks in the draft for the last few years, which probably explains why the Seahawks hosted Cal QB Davis Webb the other day.

As ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia said, it could merely be diligence in case the Hawks are in position to move down to accommodate a team that wants Webb late in the first round. Schneider has made that move twice in the last three drafts, letting Minnesota move up to get Teddy Bridgewater in 2014 and accommodating Denver’s desire for Paxton Lynch last year. It’s a smooth strategy to add picks (Schneider got an extra third from the Broncos), and it certainly seems possible that Schneider is getting ready to use it yet again.

Schneider also has checked out Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes II (son of longtime major-leaguer Pat Mahomes), who took Webb’s job at Texas Tech. Mahomes seems likely to be picked in the middle of the first round, and Webb does not appear to be a fit for Seattle’s offense. So both guys likely would be trade bait if they were there when Seattle picks.

But don’t rule out Schneider drafting a QB. There are really no veterans available to push/replace Boykin. It’s not a strong QB class, but possible Day 2 options are Pitt’s Nathan Peterman, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Miami’s Brad Kaaya. Late in the draft, they could consider Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs.

Would the Seahawks consider a tight end in the first round?

Rumor has it they rank Alabama’s O.J. Howard the No. 2 player in the draft and really like Miami’s David Njoku, too. To get either, they probably would need to obtain a pick in the 10-20 range.

But why would they when they have Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson and Nick Vannett? Possibly because Graham and Willson will be free agents in 2018 and the Hawks might want to go cheaper at the position after this year.

Of course, this is a good draft for tight ends, and they surely could find one on Day 2, if they really want another one. Even if they were to trade Richard Sherman for a pick in the 10-20 range, it seems unlikely they would draft a tight end that high.

If Schneider is really thinking of moving up in the first round, it seems likely to be for a defensive lineman who can help the interior pass rush.

Rumor has it Stanford’s Solomon Thomas is the No. 1 player on Seattle’s board, and word is Schneider is exploring ways to move up to get Thomas or Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. Thomas seems out of reach, considering he is expected to go in the top five. Allen also could go that high, although a shoulder issue could drop him out of the top 10, where the Seahawks then might be in position to jump up. Getting either pass rusher certainly would require the Hawks to trade Richard Sherman.

In the unlikely event the Seahawks stay at 26, rumor has it they could be interested in Michigan’s Taco Charlton — another inside pass rusher.

Despite all of the mocks giving the Hawks a corner in the first round, it has always seemed unlikely. For one, it goes against their draft philosophy. And rumor has it they feel comfortable in the corner depth throughout the first two days. They have met with Clemson CB Cordrea Tankersley, Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis and Colorado CB Ahkello Witherspoon.

The Seahawks pretty much always telegraph their second-round pick via visits and workouts. The clubhouse leaders this year, per that metric, are Washington FS Budda Baker, Alabama DE Tim Williams, Webb, Tankersley, Lewis and Witherspoon.


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