In an attempt to analyze who will realistically still be on the board at 32, I have been doing an exercise and enlisting the help of Danny Kelly and Jared Stanger and friends. I basically asked: "Who are 24 players that you think will surely be gone at 32?"
I think this is a good place to start when analyzing who the Seahawks could pick at 32. The list I have here is sort of a blend of my opinion, other opinions and general "Draft" consensus (for whatever that is worth). Danny asked me "Why 24?" I told Danny, "I don't know."
MY "24 FOR SURE GONE" LIST
Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, Eric Ebron, Allen Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, Zack Martin, Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Aaron Donald, Ra'shede Hageman, CJ Mosley, Ryan Shazier, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor, Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert.
When the Draft actually happens -- will these 24 players go in the top 24 exactly? Most assuredly not, but I think there is a very good chance all will be gone by 32. Now, if one of these players drops to 32, then Seattle should probably seriously consider them unless they play a position which is currently strongly "filled".
If somehow Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham, Anthony Barr, Aaron Donald, or Ra'Shede Hageman drop, I think Seattle should jump on that quickly. I also think they should jump on Ryan Shazier if he somehow fell, even though it may not be a position of immediate need in 2014. I consider all these players as special.
If I had to rank those six players in relation to Seattle I would go (1) Barr (2) Donald (3) Beckham (4) Hageman (5) Cooks (6) Shazier. This is not a judgment of how good they are as football players- this more takes into account how they would fit into the Seahawks roster in relation to the talent Seattle already has under control.
25 to 31
It's funny that Seattle has had the 25th pick in recent years, but standing at 32 is such a different feeling. For one, you just won the Super Bowl, so in a sense, you don't have a care in the world. Additionally, some believe the talent pool at 25-55 isn't really that different in many drafts.
That said, what I have noticed is that the chance of a really elite player falling to you, which is difficult at 25, is almost impossible at 32. Additionally, when looking at the matrix, seven more players will be gone beyond the "24 for sure gone" list. Which is too bad.
(Click to enlarge):
Again, this is an analysis of what I think Seattle will do closer to the top of the 2014 Draft, so I went ahead and "blued out" seven position groups that I think are targets for either late in the 2014 Draft or the 2015 Draft. These blue positions are filled nicely with starters in 2014, but as in all things NFL - 2015 brings more uncertainty.
That being said, unless a big-time talent drops I am placing QB, RB, C, ILB, OLB, S and CB for Day 3 in the NFL Draft, and in some cases Seattle may not do anything at these positions until UDFA time (at QB perhaps Seattle just adds a 4th QB in rookie free agency to throw in training camp).
I have three groups that I believe are a consideration early, but in the end, I think Seattle may wait closer to the middle of the Draft. These three groups are important, but unless an incredible value is sitting there - I think they are slightly lower priority than my "Yellow" groups. These three groups are TE, DT and OG.
The Tight End group is a position where Seattle typically keeps three players. Zach Miller is locked in with a new lower contract, Anthony McCoy has his entire one-year contract guaranteed, and Luke Willson isn't going anywhere. The Seahawks have also been interested in Jermichael Finley.
When it is all said and done, I see the Seahawks going TE later in the draft (if at all) and I see a better chance of taking a Colt Lyerla type in the 5th Round than an ASJ at 32. Whatever the Seahawks do or do-not-do with ASJ, I am pretty much onboard and have a lot of confidence in their research. From what I can tell, Pete Carroll still has a solid relationship with Steve Sarkesian and new UW Coach Petersen. He will have good information in terms of Seferian-Jenkins' health, practice habits and psychological profile. I think many other NFL teams would value Jace Amaro above where Seattle would value him in relation to their offense.
I believe the most deadly offensive set for Seattle is 11 (3WR, 1RB, 1TE), with 2 TE sets important, but not the foundation of the offense.
The Seahawks have a need on the DL, especially in their base defense. Tony McDaniel re-signed, and he can play both "Base 3T" and "Base 5T". He can play either the "Red Bryant" spot or the "Tony McDaniel" spot. If he plays the Red Bryant role, who is the Base 3T?
This is why I would draft Re'shede Hageman if he magically fell to 32. I think Stephon Tuitt is someone they would consider as well, but probably deeper into the 2nd round. I have a feeling they may be able to wait and perhaps get a DaQuan Jones or Shemar Stephen in Round 4.
To be honest, I really don't think Seattle is going to draft a "pure" Guard in 2014. They already have J.R. Sweezy, James Carpenter, Greg Van Roten, Stephen Schilling, Alvin Bailey, Michael Bowie, Caylin Hauptmann and Jared Smith. Lemuel Jeanpierre can also play guard in a pinch (and has experience there). I can see the appeal of Xavier Sua-Filo, but outside of him I really believe Seattle will draft an OT or a OT/OG hybrid like a Joel Bitonio or perhaps a Brandon Thomas or Billy Turner.
In the end, and this is not an original thought, but I believe the Seahawks' top three priorities for 32 and 64 are WR, OT and edge rusher. Although elite guards, tight-ends, and interior defensive linemen are worth their weight in gold, these three "Yellow" positions are more highly coveted on average and the prices that NFL teams pay in Free Agency for these them exceed those of tight end, guard and interior defensive line.
If there was one player I would take for Seattle at 32 once I have removed the 24 "For Sure Gone" it would be Kony Ealy. He has the size, and improved upon his speed at his Pro Day. If Seattle was willing to play Jared Allen at 270 lbs as their "Leo", then I believe they could go with a heavier player at 270 rather their their traditional 255 lb LEO.
When I look at the top players remaining after the "24 for Sure Gone" and in the yellow groups, I would lump them:
Edge Rushers: Kony Ealy, Dee Ford, Marcus Smith, Jeremiah Attaochu, Scott Crichton, Kareem Martin, Demarcus Lawrence
Offensive Tackles: Morgan Moses, Joel Bitonio, Cyrus Kouandjio, JaWuan James, Jack Mewhort, Antonio Richardson
WR: Marqise Lee, Devante Adams, Martavis Bryant, Allen Robinson, Jordan Matthews, Cody Latimer
What I Think Will Happen
In the end, I don't think Ealy will be there at 32. I also don't think Morgan Moses or Marqise Lee will be there at 32. I like all the other players, but none of the rest really strike me as a "First Round" type player and I would highly suggest pushing down into Round 2. The Seahawks would not net a ton on their first slide back, likely only an early 4th Round Pick, but I think they would be better matching value with their first pick - even if that is pushing deeper down into Round 2.
If they keep pushing down they may lose out on Kouandjio or JaWuan James, but may have a shot at Jack Mewhort or Tiny Richardson. Bitonio will likely also be gone if they keep pushing down, and Brandon Thomas with his recent ACL tear is not a good value (in my opinion) in the 2nd Round after the injury. Pushing deeper in the second round may also yield better value toward a Devante Adams, Allen Robinson, Martavis Bryant, Jordan Matthews or Cody Latimer. All the players I just named, besides Brandon Thomas, I believe will be gone once the Second Round is over.
On the other side of the ball, I think Dee Ford and Kony Ealy will be gone by 32. Is Marcus Smith worth pick 32? I like him, but I see him more as a "2nd rounder". I would feel better about a Marcus Smith, Jeremiah Attaochu, Demarcus Lawrence or Kareem Martin after pushing down into the 2nd round. If Seattle swapped down pick 64 into the early 3rd Round, I think an interesting player there could be West Virginia's Will Clarke. I think Will Sutton or Tuitt, though more interior players, would also be interesting closer to 64.
One scenario that I keep playing over in my head involves Seattle going OT and DE with their first two picks and then going with a Kevin Norwood type of WR in the upper 4th round or so. Seattle will only be able to fill two of the three groups (OT/DE/WR) with their first two picks, and have to fill the remaining group somewhere in the 4th round.
I have done some low level of work on all the players in the white and yellow groups, but my plan is do more in-depth research on the "Yellow and White" group players as the Draft approaches.
You know where to find me.