The official NFL draft order was released Friday, leading many fans to worry anew about the Seahawks’ lack of draft picks: They have a league-worst 0.9% of the total draft capital.
Some think John Schneider has basically punted on this draft after a pandemic-ruined college season and pre-draft period.
As Brady Henderson confirmed in December, Schneider did indeed make the big trade for Jamal Adams last summer because he knew this draft would be a bigger guessing game than usual. And he obviously was desperate to add a good guard (Gabe Jackson) to appease Russell Wilson. Those two deals cost a 1, 3 and 5. The 6 was traded in last year’s draft to move up for Stephen Sullivan, who is now in Carolina. So, Seattle has just a 2, 4 and 7 left at this point.
But, if you know Schneider, you know he will find a way to get back in the draft. After all, he has never had fewer than eight picks and is famously adept at moving down to add more selections.
He certainly has a few ways to recover draft stock that do not involve trading Wilson.
For one, he can easily drop from 56th overall and pick up a couple of extra picks – if he doesn’t mind starting his draft in the third round. But, if he wants to keep the 56th pick and still improve his draft bag, he will need to move a player.
As we have mentioned several times previously, the most obvious choice is Jarran Reed. He should be attractive to some teams after 10 sacks in 2018 and 6.5 in 2020. If Seattle does not plan to keep him beyond 2021 and can find a team willing to give up a third- or fourth-rounder, it would open up almost $9 million in cap space.
The Hawks potentially could replace Reed with one of two accomplished vets coming off injury seasons: Akiem Hicks and Geno Atkins. The Bears are shopping Hicks ahead of cutting him, and the Bengals just released Atkins. Both are over 30 and should be cheaper than Reed.
Another option: If the Hawks have no plans to re-sign Quandre Diggs, he could be another possible trade chip. He is coming off a Pro Bowl season, so some team might be willing to give Seattle a 3 or maybe a couple of later picks for the 28-year-old.
For late-round picks, the Seahawks might be able to move Rashaad Penny or Marquise Blair, talented but injury-prone guys the Hawks wasted high draft picks on. Or maybe Tre Flowers or Rasheem Green, experienced players who could help lesser teams.
If the Hawks could get a 3 for Reed and a 6 for one of those other guys, they would suddenly be sitting on these picks: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7. That would be a lot more amenable to Schneider.
Some have suggested trading Bobby Wagner or Tyler Lockett, either of whom would bring much better return, but Seattle seems very unlikely to do either. Wagner is the leader of the defense and a returning All-Pro who is still playing well (he was great in the first half of 2020). Lockett is a top receiver, and Wilson surely would be very dismayed to lose him – especially when the Seahawks are still in need of a No. 3 receiver. The Hawks actually should extend Lockett again.
Some also want to cut bait on Adams, which would mean getting back less than they gave up for him. But would any team give up a first-rounder for him? And why would Schneider do that, just months after he spent so much to get the former All-Pro who made the Pro Bowl in his first year in Seattle?