It's about time we drop another mock draft. This variation riffs on Seattle trading down. There's lots of way Seattle could do this, but the obvious one is switching with Philadelphia so that the Eagles can draft a franchise offensive tackle. The more important aspect of a trade-down scenario is that it excludes some prominent talent and opens the door for others we've yet to talk about. Seattle is trading a 4th overall pick. It's ludicrous, but even Philadelphia's two first round picks are not enough to satisfy that pick's 1800 points. Seattle could just mix it up and say eff it and accept less, but since this chart somehow sustains currency, let's try and make something that sort of satisfies the points equilibrium, and, you know, reality. Let's say Seattle gets both picks, but so that Philly isn't outright bankrupt of draft picks, Seattle trades its sixth and seventh round picks, and Philly throws in a third round pick. So, Seattle moves 1800 + 26.8 + 13.6 = 1840.4 for the Eagles' 800 + 660 + 165 = 1625. Still not equal, but it's functional.
21. Knowshon Moreno RB: A lot of players could fall here that Seattle would target, from Malcolm Jenkins to Mark Sanchez, but Moreno makes the most sense to me. Moreno really does lack top speed, but Seattle is emphasizing wide receivers that can block downfield, and hopefully that will negate some of the difference. Julius Jones isn't bad, but a run first team always covets rushing talent that can "take over a game". Moreno is often compared to Barry Sanders, but Sanders was a pure moves guys. A better comp is Walter Payton. Moreno plays with a grace, power and passion not seen since Sweetness. Payton was a remarkable receiver, but not overly fast. That's Moreno. Payton was near-unbreakable, and Moreno will have to be kind or face a short NFL career.
28. Darius Butler CB: Butler didn't intercept a pass his senior season. It's hurt his stock a bit. That's kind of foolish when you account for his 10 interceptions his previous three seasons. Interceptions are unpredictable and the ability to create them is a skill best observed over multiple seasons. Active career interception leader Darren Sharper recorded zero interceptions his second season in the league. He went on to record 18 over the next three seasons. Apart from the perception Butler failed to produce his senior season, Butler is about everything you could ask for in a prospect: Near-ideal size; great character and leadership; and one of my favorites: the best player on a dominant defense. Butler doesn't necessarily immediately displace Kelly Jennings, but he prevents Seattle from starting a rookie if Jennings fails. For now, Butler is high-upside depth that completes an outright scary dime package.
37. Alex Mack C: Seattle will likely target a center at some point in the draft. The need versus best available talent debate boils down to this: "need" should not impact when you draft a player, but at the end of the draft, you hope to have all of your needs met. So center is not Seattle's greatest need, but if Mack falls to 37, and Mack lacks the kind of eye-popping athleticism you want in a first round center so he very well could, Seattle then takes him as "best available talent". There's a good case he fits the title. He's a skilled and powerful blocker. He's a Draddy Trophy winner at a position that emphasizes football smarts and field awareness. Mack is the best center in a rich draft for the position, and has the kind of feet and quickness to function well within a zone blocking system. The downside, and it's substantial, is that Seattle effectively cuts ties with Chris Spencer and just as he's showing some of his potential. Begging the question: Is Mack better in his youth than Spencer will be in his prime?
68. Sen'Derrick Marks DT: Marks is the most athletic defensive tackle in the draft. At barely 22, he's also a few years away from his potential. Seattle is deep at tackle, including five rotational players and practice squad standout Kevin Brown. Nevertheless Marks is too good to pass up. He has explosion off the snap and the kind of loose hips to track down a scrambling quarterback. He's powerfully built and has good functional power. He's strictly a three tech, but should Red Bryant step up at one, and Seattle shed itself of Colin Cole before 2010, Marks could rotate with Redding and form a yet more intimidating foursome: Redding, Mebane, Bryant and Marks.
85. Dannell Ellerbe LB: Ellerbe dominated his junior season, recording 12 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 73 total tackles, an interception and a fumble forced. He's an athletic linebacker that's been injured long enough to slip, but on a team like Seattle, with good talent already at the position and a need for upside rather than roster depth, he makes a ton of sense. Good build, great potential, decent production, an SEC background, but concerns about his size, he matches Tim Ruskell's profile, and if he can stay healthy and realize his potential, he matches what Tim Ruskell does right.
104. David Bruton FS: Don't say Ruskell is above a project pick. Seattle's coaching staff doesn't seem to share in our outrage, and our desire that Seattle drafts a safety early and ensures Brian Russell's ouster, so don't be surprised if Seattle selects a later round project and hope he develops under the Gritty One's tutelage. Notre Dame was a disaster. Bruton therefore satisfies the hidden gem/great, but raw talent division of Ruskell's MO. Despite a team that was often overmatched, and no rushing attack to speak of, Notre Dame was good at defending the pass. It ranked 22 in pass efficiency defense and against a tough schedule. Bruton could start at gunner and eventually supplant Russell. Caveat One: I don't think he'll fall this far. Caveat Two: His athleticism has shown best with the pads off.
141. Brandon Williams DE: Williams is not yet 21. In 2008, he recorded 13 sacks on the Red Raiders light/fast front four. He has good height, 6 2 ½", and bulked up to 261 for the combine. He's athletic and productive and played on a defense without much top talent. Rob Rang described him as strictly a pass rusher, but I think that's a bit misguided. Williams will not start his career holding the point or effectively containing outside, but he's young and his profile is not so limited. He could develop a lot of ways. Williams can contribute as a situational pass rusher his rookie season. His pass rush skills are precocious and should he never develop into anything more, a player that can contribute 5 to 10 sacks from the bench, a la KGB, is great value in the fifth.
Matt Slauson OL: Utility offensive lineman with the agility to succeed in a traditional zone-blocking system.
Chris Ogbonnaya RB/FB: Former wide receiver could be this year's Leonard Weaver.
Cameron Goldberg OT: Good athlete and good tackle that lacks the size to play in the NFL. Seattle signed Goldberg's clone, Williams Robinson, as an undrafted free agent last year. Unlike Robinson, Goldberg did it against ACC competition on an emerging program. Seattle drafts Goldberg hoping a couple seasons on the practice squad will aid in his physical development.
Note: Seattle does not select a quarterback. If Seattle does not select a quarterback, watch for them to take a flier on a free agent like Patrick Ramsey.