Seahawks current selections:
1.18, 4.120, 5.141, 5.146, 5.156, 5.168, 7.226, 7.248
The Seahawks enter the 2018 NFL Draft having faced changes to the roster and staff like few other teams in the league, match that with the highest draft slot in 6 years and the 2018 draft is one of huge importance as the Seahawks enter the unknown somewhat, in 2018.
The high pick (18th overall) comes after a disappointing, injury-ravaged year which saw the team lose their 1st pick from last years draft before he took a snap in training camp- and likely longer along with their incumbent LT in pre-season. Then during the season saw the heralded ‘Legion of Boom’ have age and perhaps style catch up and CB Richard Sherman would have his achilles tear, Kam Chancellor suffer a possible career ending stinger and DE Cliff Avril also suffer the same debilitating injury.
With the questions still surrounding both Chancellor and Avril, the team have spent the past few months remodelling the roster. Gone is Sherman- cut and then signed by NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, also gone is All Pro defensive lineman Michael Bennett in a trade to the reigning champs- Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite the move with Bennett, the team enter the draft with a large gap between picks, as well as total which falls short of what GM John Schneider has talked about being his ‘optimum’. In 2017, the Seahawks made 11 picks, as of writing this they have just one in the first two days and 8 overall.
That will change almost unquestionably, so this mock is a tough sell to project moves back- and possibly up- the board. But with that said, here’s what the Seahawks could leave the 2018 annual selection with.
I don’t see many situations where the Seahawks make a pick at this point. Unless a stud falls into their lap and a ‘blue chip’ prospect is there for the taking, the Seahawks- as is the norm with this front office- trade back. The question is to where and who their partner would be.
At this point- with questions still surrounding the future of Earl Thomas- the Seahawks could yet move back twice and come away with picks (and in a strong spot) that would help them restock the Seahawks for another run, at some point in the future.
That’s the plan for this mock here too, with a run of QB’s in the top 5, with the added ‘in front of the rush’ move from the Jets, the Buffalo Bills could sit there- even having picked at 12- wanting their new franchise QB.
From 22 to 18, theres a drop of 120 value points. With the run the Bills have, that would make a trade with their 96th pick palatable. The Bills move up, the Seahawks have dropped back 4 and have their 3rd round pick.
Seahawks trade #18 to Buffalo for #22 & #96
That could be enough, but with Cleveland and that new authority, they may want any offensive star who has dropped- or more prominently, the top of the crop at tackle to replace their every-down, future hall-of-famer Joe Thomas.
Conor Williams and Mike McGlinchey appear to be the top names on that list and it is plausible both sit there at 22. With investment coming for Seattle to keep Duane Brown long-term and patience still there (albeit thin) for Germain Ifedi, the Seahawks make the move.
Seahawks trade #22 & #146 to Cleveland for #33 & #64
That sees the Seahawks sit out another 1st round, but also sees them move onto day 2 with 3 picks and ammo to move up at some point over the final six rounds.
Updated Seahawks Draft Picks:
2.33, 2.64, 3.96, 4.120, 5.156, 5.168, 7.226, 7.248
2.33: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
The Seahawks finally make their first pick and have the board sit in a position they would welcome to be in overnight.
A pick on offense appears the likelier outcome, either another high-selection on the offensive line or to push the running game to relevance are equally likely and have a good pool to pick from.
But it’s the off-season losses of Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson and most presicely, Paul Richardson which they look to replace. In 2017, Richardson and Graham collated 16 touchdowns and that- along with the run game will be a point of angst here. But they choose to give Russell Wilson another slot receiver who can do magic in open space.
Kirk, who was a three-year contributor for the Aggies is a consistently great route runner and after a year or two where it’s been only Doug Baldwin who would win down-after-down on the line of scrimmage, Kirk showed game to do the same. His hands appear steady and his elusiveness in the open-field will only bring Golden Tate similarities.
In 2017, Kirk found the endzone 10 time for the A&M on his third straight 900+ yard season, he also enters the NFL with 6 returns, another phase which needs a jolt in 2018.
He’d be a fun fit in Seattle with Tyler Lockett entering a big year for his long-term Seattle future, Kirk- who the team have shown a keen interest in- holds alot of weight at this spot, which appears to be approaching his draft stock ‘ceiling’.
2.64 Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The Seahawks have spent the past 18 months or so telling us that they want to get deeper and younger at the linebacker spot. Bobby Wagner in the middle is the best at the position in the league and is coming off another stellar year in 2017; KJ Wright alongside has not hit those same heights but remains a consistent component of the Seahawks defense, outside of those two however and it is somewhat thin. Off-season additions in 2017 Michael Wilhoite and DJ Alexander barely reached any sort of notoriety and it remains a position to address this draft.
They do so with the young and talented backer from Texas. At Texas he showed a good ability to quickly diagnose and make the tackle consistently and was a sure tackler when meeting the ball carrier- a big deal with Pete Carroll’s Hawk Tackling.
His athleticism shines in both the run and pass game and 2018 could be a year to address the position as early as it has since Bobby Wagner was a 2nd round pick in 2012. A player with Jefferson’s athleticism (a 4.52 40 & a 10.5 broad jump) and ability to line up at all the linebacker spots and get to the QB as readily as make the run game stop gives him the make-up to be a fit in Seattle.
With KJ Wright facing a contract year, the Jefferson pick would be the surest sign of an ascension plan at the position. A perfect spot for Jefferson- with age on his side- to learn from two of the leagues best over the past 5 years.
3.96: Duke Eljiofor, DE, Wake Forest
As mentioned above the Seahawks pass rush options have severely dwindled since the Seahawks last played a down. Cliff Avril could well retire and Michael Bennett is now an Eagle; match that with Sheldon Richardson’s 1 year rental costing the team and there is a lot currently riding on Frank Clark continuing to ascend up the ranks as a pass rusher.
But with the trades a day earlier, the Seahawks find a player who could fill the Bennett role in the future, Wake Forest’s Duke Eljiofor.
Eljiofor was a star for WF in 2017 and a constant thorn for offensive lines, he finished the year with 17 tackles for a loss and 7 sacks. He finished his collegiate career with 43.5 TFL and 24 sacks, few pass rushers are as productive as Eljifor in this group at this point in proceedings.
With Eljiofor the pick, they have a new generation of ‘bookends’ with Clark opposite, whilst also both being able and likely productive to slide inside on passing downs. The team have taken the approach on the inside to again find veteran rentals to pair with Jarran Reed, on the outside needs a refresher.
The biggest caution with this however is health. Eljiofor at this point is possibly only likely as his shoulder injury issues linger, if it brings him to this point at the backend of the 2nd day, then the Seahawks could have a productive steal in the Wake Forest defensive end.
4.120: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
The Seahawks run game was an absolute car wreck in 2017, with injuries- again- hitting the position while Eddie Lacy looked a shell of the player who once played in Green Bay, Thomas Rawls, who was once the crowned prince to Marshawn Lynch, appeared to lost most (if not all) the coaches trust. Matched with offensive line issues as ever with Seattle and the run game and a back to spark it is a well held belief from most Seahawk fans entering the 2018 draft.
With the headline names like Guice, Chubb, Jones and Michel, they may be just a bit too rich for the blood in 2018. Instead the Seahawks wait until the 3rd day of the draft (a trade up is needed for this man) to take the player who showed lateral ability, aggression and the willingness to scrap for every inch and yard he got in college- Tennessee’s John Kelly.
Watching Kelly is a truckload of fun and after sitting behind 2017 NFL Rookie star Alvin Kamara in 2016, 2017 saw him carry the weight for the Volunteers.
A year with 778 yards and 9 TD’s isn’t as flashy and all-conquering as the headline names but style, ability to keep his feet moving and the ability to be a legit pass-catching option out of the backfield make him a intriguing option for Seattle. He possesses good vision and a legit stiff arm to go with everything else, he has the ability to break a run laterally and downhill and finishes well.
He, as I say, could go earlier than this, but if the Seahawks move on up for him it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. You add him to the backfield with Chris Carson, Mike Davis and JD McKissic and the Seahawks have not only a better room in 2018, but also one that is competitive and diverse.
5.156 Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
In a blink of an eye the Seahawks have a weakness at corneback. The release of Richard Sherman seemed strange with what else was likelier to come (Jeremy Lane release, no clear replacement) but matched with the as-yet unsigned Byron Maxwell (who impressed late in 2017) and the Seahawks need a new boundary guy to sit opposite 2017 3rd round pick Shaquill Griffin, they find their proto in McFadden.
With McFadden it isn’t all perfect, while we saw with Sherman and Griffin an ability to keep shadowing downfield, McFadden struggled. His game is nowhere near perfect, but the tools he has and the size and skillset he does possess certainly ring ‘Seahawks’.
He’s a really good tackler on the outside and physical in coverage- both things the Seahawks covet out of their defensive backs. At this stage you are putting him in the room and hoping the coaching moulds him into what they let go in Sherman and DeShawn Shead. His game- and measurables are already similar. As a later 5th round pick, his path is the same too.
A fun pick to project.
5.168 Siran Neal, S, Jacksonville State
If McFadden is the Sherman replacement, Neal is somewhere in the middle of the Shead/Chancellor mold. He is a player who could possibly line up anywhere accross the defensive backfield and make a play.
At State, he overpowered consistently and made plays on the line of scrimmage (ala Kam) in the slot and on occasion on the boundary, he is listed as a safety but you are getting a defensive back to mould at this juncture. A few years ago I was a fan of Jaquiski Tarrt, the Stamford standout who was drafted by the 49ers. Neal has that feel to his game and ability to blow up blockers with aggression and physicality.
He seems adept in coverage too, especially against opposing tight ends, he shows good length to make plays on the ball and break the play up. For JSU he was a prominent figure on the field, he carried himself with a swagger which has been seen in Seattle. The Seahawks draft another defensive back and come away with what may be the steal of the lot.
7.226 Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan
The Seahawks restocked the WR cupboard with Kirk at the top, they restock the Tight End crop with the intriguing Conklin.
At Central Michigan, Conklin was a joker and rarely lined up as a in-line blocker. He was shown to the outside and in the slot consistently and with the Seahawks adding Ed Dickson in free agency and already having Nick Vannett- who entered the league with his blocking ability lauded- adding Conklin to that group, and this late, would be a project pick but one which could see contributions in 2018.
Conklin uses his body extremely well to lock out covering defenders all over the field. There are several examples of CMU putting Conklin on the outside in a one on one matchup. He was adept in option routes and a good blocker in space with everything else.
Not a game-breaking tight end, but a solid blocker who can cause concern as a receiver. An interesting player to monitor.
7.248 Bilal Nichols, DT, Delaware
Dominating against inferior opposition is key for those from the smaller schools, Nichols does that.
Consistently crumbling the pocket from the inside, Nichols has the ability to beat double teams readily and has the stature and profile to be a good player- and contributor- in the NFL.
He has good lateral movement and length to make plays whilst blocked and can get downfield. The Seahawks signed two interior linemen this off-season, adding Nichols to the crop gives him two veterans to learn from and again, could be a steal if able to stick. Few as explosive as him in this crop, finding that explosiveness this late is fun for the Seahawks with a player who ticks most boxes.
Overall the Seahawks come away with intriguing players late and day one contributors early. The work done on Day 1 aids the group mightily, it also is very likely the team continue to move around the board early on Day 3, they may look to use their 2 7th round picks to move up to higher in Round 4 or 5. But those trades are tougher to distinguish from this vantage point.
The trade back at 18 is the only viable option with needs and players that fit for Seattle, everything else will come off the back of that.
picture from http://bleacherreport.com