No matter what the Seahawks do before or during free agency, their top needs in this draft will be their lines.
They need to replace Cliff Avril and, eventually, Michael Bennett on the defensive front. And they need to add a good guard to an offensive line that now has a coach who should get the most out of the talent.
So, it figures that two guys the Hawks reportedly showed high interest in during Senior Bowl week were versatile linemen: Nevada blocker Austin Corbett and Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand.
The Seahawks “were very complimentary of Austin Corbett,” draft expert Tony Pauline wrote after the first practice of the week. “They mentioned his durability (more than 600 snaps in college), versatility and ability to obliterate defenders.”
Pauline’s take on Corbett from practices in Mobile, Ala.: “He played multiple positions throughout the week — center, guard and right tackle — and dominated most of the opponents he faced. He’s not an agile or nimble blocker but is a strong, methodical player who could slide into the second round of the draft.”
There are a number of good guard prospects — Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn, UTEP’s Will Hernandez and Corbett among them — and the Hawks figure to be looking at them.
A possible Day 2 riser to watch is Humboldt State’s Alex Cappa, who has been compared to Ali Marpet.
The Seahawks don’t have any picks on Day 2, but everyone knows John Schneider is plotting to move down from the 18th pick and end up with at least a couple of Day 2 picks.
If Schneider slides to the bottom of the first or top of the second, Hand could be there. He’s an outside-in player who could be added to eventually replace Bennett.
“Hand was tremendous during Senior Bowl practices, from start to finish,” Pauline wrote. “He was explosive and quick and beat opponents with power as well as agility. He definitely helped his draft stock, and it would not be a surprise if he slides into the late part of Round 1.”
Other defensive ends who looked good in the Senior Bowl, according to Rob Staton, were first-round prospect Marcus Davenport (Texas-San Antonio) and late Day 2 options Tyquan Lewis (Ohio State) and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma).
Staton on Lewis (6-3, 276): “Whether he was rushing the edge, stunting inside or attacking the B-gap, Lewis had a day. He combined with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on one sack/fumble and was a constant threat. Powerful and quick, Lewis has plenty of upside and could work in a rotation at the next level.”
Staton on the undersized Okoronkwo (6-1, 243): “He isn’t agile enough to play as a linebacker and cover and he’s not a base end. … He’ll likely be a role player at the next level, but he could contribute 8-10 sacks. Think 2012 Bruce Irvin.”
One guy who stood out at the Senior Bowl was Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe.
Said Staton: “Smythe is well established as the most natural ‘Y’ tight end in the class. He’s considered a good blocker. In this game, he showed what he can do as a receiver, getting open on a well-timed wheel route to grab one of Josh Allen’s touchdowns. Smythe could be a third-rounder.”
Of course, the Seahawks don’t have a third-rounder right now. They have picks in these rounds: 1, 4, 5, 5, 5, 7, 7. But, as we all know, Schneider surely will move his way down the board and add picks in the second and third rounds — as he did last year.
And then we’ll see which linemen he drafts.