The Seahawks joined the rest of us in watching the first round pass by without them participating – the third time that has happened in the John Schneider era, but the first since 2015.
They had some fun with it by filling their seats with cardboard cutouts, but they will be there for real today.
The best plan, in our estimation, would be to move down from 56. The quality of players in the late second round is not that much better than anything in the mid-third round.
Add a couple more picks. Then look at corners, centers, tackles and receivers – maybe D-tackles and linebackers. Check out our roster status report for prospects who could fit Seattle at each position.
Here’s what we would try to do:
Trade down to around 80, adding picks in the fourth and/or fifth rounds. Then consider Stanford LT Walker Little, Miami TE Brevin Jordan or Stanford CB Paulson Adebo – guys who could be there, based on the composite Big Board.
Little, who hasn’t played for two years, could be the heir apparent to Duane Brown. Jordan could be a great slot weapon, paired with Gerald Everett in 2021 and then perhaps the main tight end target in 2022. Adebo would be the best Seattle-style corner at that draft spot.
Then Seattle should try to trade back up to around 100 to get Illinois C Kendrick Green or East Carolina OT D’Ante Smith (if Little were not the first pick). Green would be able to push Ethan Pocic for the starting spot, or at least get ready to take over in 2022. Smith has the traits that could make him a realistic left tackle project.
In the 120s, Seattle could take Michigan CB Ambry Thomas, Minnesota CB Benjamin St-Juste, Stanford C Drew Dalman or Texas A&M DT Bobby Brown – depending on needs and availability.
If they have another pick in the fifth, they could look at guys like Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz (the fastest player in the draft), South Carolina WR Shi Smith (good return specialist candidate) or Purdue LB Derrick Barnes (h/t to “Locked on Seahawks” for that idea).
Jim Nagy, former Seattle scout who runs the Senior Bowl, told ESPN.com: “The thing with this year’s draft, some of the later, later depth isn’t quite there. I still think it’s a strong draft through about the fifth round. So I think that’s kind of the sweet spot. If (the Seahawks) can move off 56 … and add a third, add a couple fours, that strategy seems like something they would do.”
It was apropos that Minnesota ended up with Seattle’s first and third, in a deal with the Jets, who had received those picks in the Jamal Adams trade.
The Vikings have 10 picks remaining, including four 3s, three 4s and two 5s. They do not have a second-rounder, so you can bet they will try to use some of those other picks to move up today.
Seattle could try to get picks 66 and 119 in a drop from 56 — or even try to get 78, 119 and 134. Or, the Hawks could simply use a couple of other teams to slide down the board as part of the above strategy.
Schneider warned that wanting to trade and being able to do not always align.
“When you start out, philosophically you may want to (trade down), but it’s not necessarily an easy thing,” he said this week. “It’s not something that is necessarily pre-planned.”
It does help that teams see things differently by the end of the second round.
“It really starts jumping all over the place,” he said. “It’s just a matter of … how aggressive teams are and what their needs are and how they view certain players, if they think they have to jump other teams to get to a certain spot.”
One key spot today could be just ahead of the Raiders, who have picks 79 and 80 in the third round. Some team may want to jump their double-barrel picks (if they keep them).
Few left tackles left?
The Seahawks are not likely to see many left tackle options, once they are in position to pick.
Most college LTs are projected to move to right tackle or guard in the NFL. The Hawks don’t need a RT because they can keep either Brandon Shell or Cedric Ogbuehi next year.
We also can rule out a bunch of guys who have arms under 33 inches (Seattle’s usual standard, as Rob Staton points out) or are not athletic enough or likely moving inside. That likely ousts Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg (who might go early in the second anyway), BYU’s Brady Christensen, Cincinnati’s James Hudson, Clemson’s Jackson Carman, Florida’s Stone Forsythe and Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield.
The Hawks also almost never take small-school guys, which would knock out North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz (if he slid somehow) and Northern Iowa’s Spencer Brown.
That’s why the only guys we mentioned above as LT possibilities were Little and Smith. The Hawks are set at the tackles in 2021 so either of those guys would get to redshirt before replacing Brown in 2022 or 2023 (if Brown comes back next year).
Prep for deep 2022 draft?
Schneider’s lieutenants pointed out the 2022 draft will be really deep due to all of the players who are returning to college for essentially a coronavirus makeup year.
The Seahawks could look to add a 2022 pick or two in their maneuvers, if they can get teams to give them up. They currently do not have a first-rounder due to the Adams deal, but they did add a fourth from that trade to their 2022 stock.
Dan Viens and I discussed this strategy in our draft preview Thursday.
Schneider blasts critics
One advantage of not picking very high is reducing the amount of criticism you might receive. The Seahawks always tend to overdraft their first-round picks (performance reflects it), so they at least avoided that this year.
Schneider still decided to pre-emptively rip his critics.
He reminded everyone that the Seahawks rank players based on their needs and trait requirements, not based on a consensus board by draft analysts.
“This draft is no different than others. We evaluate for our team. We don’t evaluate for the league. I think it’s something as a refresher for people,” he said. “When you see specific names being thrown out and this guy’s supposed to go here and this guy’s supposed to go there, and that’s a great pick, and this one’s a bad pick, we recognize it’s entertainment all the way through, but we have to do what’s best for the organization all the time.”
Of course, part of doing what’s best is understanding how the league sees the draft so you can take advantage of that. The other part is picking the right guys at the right time. Schneider has been pretty hit and miss on both counts for most of his time in Seattle.
He also said, “We pride ourselves on not having all the answers and not being the smartest people in the room.”
Ostensibly, he is saying they know they will make mistakes and don’t have egos. But it’s also his way of saying the critics aren’t as smart as they think they are either.
Of course, the proof is always in the performance of the picks.