Vannett deal highlights some draft struggles

at-arizona-logoThe answers: The 2016 draft class. Third-rounders. Fourth-round receivers.

The question: Where have the Seahawks struggled in the draft recently?

The trade of Nick Vannett leaves five of the 10 picks from the star-crossed 2016 draft class and just three of the league-high seven third-rounders from the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

Until this year, Vannett had been the only third-rounder from that bunch, other than Shaquill Griffin, to contribute consistently. Lano Hill, now starting again, still has a chance. But Rees Odhiambo and Amara Darboh are gone, and Nazair Jones had regressed before landing on IR. And then there is C.J. Prosise, who has managed to hold on to his roster spot despite only two good games and a bunch of DNPs to his name. The Hawks simply have not gotten much from those thirds.

The 2016 class has not been much better. Jarran Reed has been the only standout, but he is sitting out the first six games this season on a bizarre suspension. Quinton Jefferson didn’t make it through 2016 but returned in 2017, started in 2018 and has actually been the best lineman so far this year. Germain Ifedi did not merit a fifth-year option and has struggled early this season — once again drawing the ire of fans. Vannett and Joey Hunt have been part-time contributors only, and Prosise has been hurt so often that it is surprising he is healthy now.

It won’t be a surprise if none of those guys are back in 2020 — Reed and Jefferson possibly commanding too much money. At least the Hawks decided to get something — a fifth-rounder — for Vannett now.

(UPDATE: The Seahawks reportedly changed their minds about waiving Gary Jennings.)

The Seahawks didn’t have a fourth-round pick in that 2016 draft, but they had three this year — and Gary Jennings was not very good, based on what we saw in preseason. The receiver really should not have been on the 53-man roster, so it was no surprise that Seattle initially planned to waive him so the team could promote safety Adrian Colbert from the practice squad.

It turned out the Hawks changed their minds, keeping Jennings and waiving rookie DT Bryan Mone instead. But it still raises the question: Will Jennings develop? Or will he be yet another reason John Schneider should stop using fourth-round picks on receivers. Schneider is 0 for 3 there, with Kris Durham (2011), Chris Harper (2013) and Kevin Norwood (2014) all quickly flaming out.

The Hawks still have two tight ends, with media darling Luke Willson returning to replace Vannett. Pete Carroll said Willson was signed over practice squad TE Jacob Hollister because Willson is a similar player to Vannett and basically knows the offense. Carroll said Hollister’s “time is coming.”

Meanwhile, Ed Dickson’s time might be delayed. On IR after knee surgery, he would be eligible to return in Week 9. “We’ll see. He’s working at it,” Carroll said. “Won’t know ’til we get closer. I’m concerned about it though. The race is on.”

The Hawks now have 11 defensive backs, which is no surprise for a Carroll team. Colbert apparently was drawing interest from several teams, so he becomes the fifth safety on the roster. The speedy safety started 12 games with San Francisco after the 49ers drafted him in the seventh round in 2017. It will be interesting to see whether he can challenge Hill, Tedric Thompson and Marquise Blair for playing time.

To make room for Colbert, the Hawks instead reportedly waived Mone. That leaves Seattle with two true tackles, Poona Ford and Al Woods — although Jefferson has played there a bunch as well.

After the Vannett trade with Pittsburgh netted a fifth-rounder, the Seahawks are projected to have these picks (by round) in 2020: 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7.

The Seahawks are already slated for five prime-time games, but it sounds like they could get a sixth. In Week 6, the Hawks-Browns matchup (scheduled for 10 a.m.) is under consideration to replace Steelers-Chargers on Sunday night (if the Steelers continue to lose). Three teams can make six prime-time appearances in a season, so the Hawks could become one of those. They already are scheduled to play next Thursday night against the Rams and four straight night games in Weeks 10-14 (with a Week 11 bye). We will know whether that Week 6 game gets flexed by next Tuesday (12 days’ notice is required).

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