The Seahawks seem locked in on finding a hybrid safety/nickel corner high in this draft.
It’s basically a starting position in the NFL these days, which explains why Justin Coleman got $9 million a year from Detroit. Coleman played in 63.5 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps the past two years, and the Seahawks seem to be looking for his replacement in the second round.
Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting is at least the eighth Day 2 nickel prospect the Seahawks reportedly have shown interest in. The others are Juan Thornhill (Virginia), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Florida), Nasir Adderley (Delaware), Taylor Rapp (UW), Justin Layne (Michigan State), Lonnie Johnson (Kentucky) and Darnell Savage (Maryland).
According to Tony Pauline, the Seahawks might be thinking they can trade down once or twice and get Thornhill or Bunting.
A bunch of mocks also have been slotting Byron Murphy (Washington) to the Hawks, and third- or fourth-round prospect Marquise Blair (Utah) is considered “a Seahawk safety,” according to former Seattle scout Jim Nagy, who runs the Senior Bowl now.
Adderley, Rapp, Blair and Thornhill were among the top five safeties in percentage of forced incompletions last season, per PFF.
The Seahawks have drafted nine corners in the Pete Carroll era, and they all have been outside players with long wingspans. But most of the above guys fall under the Seahawks’ standard 32-inch arm length and have a lot of experience playing inside and safety (where that arm length is not a prereq).
With less than a week remaining before the draft, the odds sure seem in favor of Seattle taking a defensive back on Day 2.
The Frank Clark trade rumors are heating up, with at least three teams reportedly interested. Per Pauline, the Jets already have called about him and the Colts and Chiefs both figure to make a run at him over the next week.
“When you’re getting close to the trade deadline and you get close to the draft, it’s like major speculation, a ton of drama,” John Schneider said. “I get it. It’s what we’re doing; it’s entertainment.
“People around the league know we’re in every deal,” Schneider added. “We’re always trying to understand the landscape around the National Football League. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing our job. We can’t have our head in the sand with anything.”
A deal seems unlikely, only because it’s doubtful anyone will send a first-round pick for Clark. But, if someone like the Colts offered a high 2 (No. 34 overall) and maybe Jabaal Sheard and another pick, would Schneider be interested?
Assuming Schneider does not trade Clark (and even if he does), he will be looking to trade down once or twice from 21 overall. He should be able to find a team interested in moving up for a tackle, receiver or tight end — or possibly the fourth quarterback.
Teams might want to get over Houston (23) to snag a tackle, if one of Andre Dillard, Cody Ford or Kaleb McGary is there. The Eagles, Chargers, Packers, Rams or Patriots all could be interested. Or, as CBS projects, the Chiefs might want to move up to get center Garrett Bradbury.
For a receiver, teams might want to get ahead of Baltimore (22) and Philadelphia (25) for a guy like D.K. Metcalf or Marquise Brown. If one of the Iowa tight ends, T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant, slips to 21, then Oakland, Green Bay or New England could try to make a move up.
WHAT ABOUT PASS RUSHERS?
It would take a lot for the Hawks to trade Clark, because they already need pass-rush help and then also would need to replace Clark.
Other than top-10 prospect Rashan Gary, the Hawks are reported to have expressed interest in just a few pass rushers: Day 2 guys L.J. Collier (TCU) and D’Andre Walker (Georgia) and Round 4-5 prospect Jalen Jenks (Oregon). They also have done due diligence on top-10 talent Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State), who is expected to be available in the second round due to a recent torn ACL and concerns over a 2016 assault on a woman. (NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah mocked Simmons to Seattle at 21 this week.)
Others they might watch for: Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame), Brian Burns (Florida State), Jaylon Ferguson (La. Tech), Dre’mont Jones (Ohio State), Jachai Polite (Florida), Zach Allen (Boston College), Oshane Ximines (ODU), Gerald Willis (Miami).
Kaden Elliss (Idaho) is an interesting late-round option the Hawks have had contact with. The son of former Detroit Lions star Luther Elliss, Kaden (6-2, 238) is uber-athletic and could offer some outside rush help (he had 13 sacks and 31 tackles for loss the past two years).