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A Look Ahead to the Draft

Friday, February 9, 2018

 

 

With the 2017 season a not so distant memory, it’s time to move on to the 2018 season and all that comes with it. Free Agency is right around the corner and shortly afterwards, at the end of April is the 2018 NFL Draft. All very exciting times considering there are no football Sunday’s for some 26 weeks.

 

Seattle hedged on a successful season in 2017 by trading their second and third round picks to the Texans and Jets respectively in the Duane Brown and Sheldon Richardson trades, although a great idea at the time and something I don’t feel any animosity towards the front office for doing, it’s left the Seahawks in a bit of a predicament for the draft.

 

It’s also horrendous timing given Seattle’s draft position. They have the 18th pick in each round of the draft, the lowest they’ve picked in many years, just having their draft order start with a 1x rather than a 2x seems odd but in the one year where they could get much better talent within each round they don’t have any selections on day 2 whatsoever. For now, at least.

 

Equally frustrating is that this draft class has superb value at several key positional needs for Seattle. Defensive front 7, interior offensive line and running back and the strongest positions however the available talent takes a big nosedive as you get into the 4th, maybe 5th round. It seems this draft is a literal tailored fit for drafting needs. No doubt Seattle has a plan to chip away at that day 2 talent available by means of trading players, trading down from their round 1 pick or even trading 2019 picks for 2018 selections, although that is, almost certainly, very unlikely.

 

Let’s look at what we know about this front office and their typical draft strategy and tendencies. We know they value the middle and later rounds, we know they don’t really care for the first round (excluding the 2016 draft where they selected Germain Ifedi with the 31st overall pick) they haven’t made a selection on day 1 since 2012. We also know they have very specific parameters and measurable for certain positions, as an example, Ezekiel Elliott was not even on their draft board in 2016, despite being an incredibly talented running back, he didn’t ‘fit’ their requirements. Maybe they will change their policy on this moving forward, who knows. Given the coaching changes and the inevitable roster churn this off season, anything is possible.

 

Now let’s look at needs as of now based on the roster and who is and isn’t on the team next season.

 

The stand out positions of need are as follows –

 

Interior Offensive Lineman

Tight End

Outside Linebacker (namely WILL/weakside)

Defensive Line (mainly EDGE, they have a few DT’s on the roster)

Safety

 

Now not all these positions necessarily need to be addressed via the draft, they could resign Luke Willson at Tight End for example, or pick up a couple of EDGE rushers via free agency. We will be able to tighten down on actual draft needs once free agency is over with but for now, those are the main needs. You could argue that CB is another position, however I firmly believe a couple of free agents will get picked up to cover depth as well as a day 3 selection or two, as per usual. Given Pete Carroll’s ability to coach up DB’s in general, it’s where they are most likely to find that ‘diamond in the rough’.

 

If you keep track of the national mock draft ‘experts’ you will notice that just about every single one of them has Seattle going CB with the 18th overall pick. How national media guys can get paid to spout out this drivel is beyond me. Barring Earl Thomas in 2010, Seattle hasn’t selected a corner earlier than round 3 for several years, and before the Shaq Griffin selection in the 2017 draft, they hadn’t selected one since day 3 in a long time. You only need to ask any Seahawks fan what the team will likely do with the first-round pick to know they will not go cornerback, it’s just not realistic. That’s why it’s so important to take mock drafts with a pinch of salt. The only mock draft I pay any attention to is Rob Staton of SeahawksDraftBlog.com, Rob really knows what he’s talking about and clearly does research, not just throwing names at teams at will. Be sure to check out is site if you aren’t already aware of it, it’s very good and his knowledge of the draft is phenomenal.

 

So, with the lack of second and third round picks, how can Seattle plug into the talent on day 2? My bet is trading away (possibly several times to maximize value) the 18th pick.

 

Looking at the draft chart below, as an example, you could trade with Cleveland and receive their 2nd, 3rd and 5th round pick to make it a fair trade for both teams. Seattle’s pick is worth 900 points. Cleveland’s 2nd and 3rd round pick is worth a total of 845 points. Add in their 5th rounder (worth 43 points) and you’ve got a fair trade whereby both parties may well be very happy with what they’re coming away with. This is the most likely avenue I think the front office will take, although it goes without saying it may very well not be with Cleveland, that’s purely a suggestion to show what is possible and what sort of value can be had.

 

 

 

 

Seattle currently has these picks available to them, per OverTheCap –

 

Round 1 - #18

Round 4 - #122

Round 5 - #143

Round 5 - #150

Round 5 - #170

Round 7 - #226

Round 7 - #248

Round 7 - #250

 

They aren’t expected to get any compensatory picks in this year’s draft, either. Let’s assume that Seattle does trade with Cleveland as mentioned above.

 

Their draft board now looks as follows –

 

Round 2 - #33

Round 3 - #65

Round 4 - #122

Round 5 - #140

Round 5 - #143

Round 5 - #150

Round 5 - #170

Round 7 - #226

Round 7 - #248

Round 7 - #250

 

With those selections, they may well go along the lines of –

 

Round 2 - #33 – Interior Lineman

Round 3 - #65 – The best available running back left on the board

Round 4 - #122 – EDGE

Round 5 - #140 – Outside linebacker

Round 5 - #143 - CB

Round 5 - #150 - WR

Round 5 - #170 – S/CB

Round 7 - #226 - Kicker

Round 7 - #248 – Outside linebacker

Round 7 - #250 – Running back

 

 

It’s safe to say we will know a lot more about team needs in a few weeks once free agency rolls around, so I will be sure to come back to this article when we know more.

 

As always, Go Hawks!

 

 

 

 

 

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