College football is in a little bit of a lull between the end of conference championship games and the start of Bowl Season, so I thought now might be a good time to write an updated 7-round mock for the Hawks. We have more games and more tape to base decisions on, we have Senior Bowl invite information to include, and we simply have updates on where players are being valued.
Here is a quick link to Mock Draft 1.0.
Right off the top…this draft will differ from the first because the Seahawks’ draft position has changed pretty dramatically. Where previously we were out of the playoffs six weeks ago, we’re now holding a wildcard spot, with homefield advantage throughout playoffs still attainable. As a Wild Card, we would technically draft somewhere in the 21-24 range, but ranking by W-L record with S.O.S. as tiebreaker, Seahawks would draft at #29 overall. Let’s use the latter as our position, as it would be possible to draft players valued at 29 if we pick earlier, but we wouldn’t be able to draft a player projected at #24 from the 29th spot. Make sense?
2015 Mock Draft:
I’m pretty far off of the RB bandwagon now. Melvin Gordon is projected exactly at #29 overall by nfldraftscout.com, but I think that is a stretch. Gordon, after the injury to Todd Gurley, will be the first RB off the board, and I can’t imagine that doesn’t happen in the top 15 picks. Ameer Abdullah looked devastatingly human after sustaining a mild knee injury a few weeks ago, Mike Davis has had off and on injury problems most of the year, TJ Yeldon never really interested me, neither does Duke Johnson. Tevin Coleman is pretty interesting but he’s now pulling top 50 projection. Not sure I love him at that price, especially when he is fundamentally flawed by his penchant for always carrying the ball in his left hand. Plus, there’s this whole matter of Marshawn Lynch.
It doesn’t look like Marshawn’s tank is empty. Nor does it seem like the Hawks are ready to move on from him. It also doesn’t look like Christine Michael can’t handle RB1 duties if needed. It’s been really limited touches, but CMike has still averaged 5.8 YPC this year. I think the current strategy is: roll forward with the group we’ve got, maybe drafting a day-3 lottery ticket RB, and reassess in a year.
The next two most logical positions to look, for me, become DL and OL. More specifically, DE and OT.
Do we think Cliff Avril and his 4.5 sacks is worth re-upping? Do we trust Okung (currently questionable with that lung bruise he suffered versus SF) to remain healthy through the end of his present deal? Do we believe that Justin Britt is our RT of the future, or do we think he needs to move inside to OG? Do we bring Carp back? Is Bruce Irvin a full-time DE/LEO, or is his future primarily at SAM? Is Alvin Bailey (who got chastised a bit this week by Pete Carroll for his play at LT) a legitimate consideration at OT, or is his future as a super-utility OL? Lots of questions. But I’m willing/planning to answer them both by the end of the 2nd round in the 2015 draft.
As of now, next year’s draft is no longer "Year of the RB"…it is now the "Year of the Pass Rusher". Especially at DE. With Seniors Vic Beasley, Bud Dupree, Nate Orchard, Hau’oli Kikaha, Lorenzo Mauldin, Trey Flowers, Owamagbe Odighizuwa…then add in declared Junior Eli Harold and the currently exiled Noah Spence, plus potential declares: Randy Gregory, Shane Ray, Shawn Oakman, Danielle Hunter, Arik Armstead, Deforest Buckner…it’s an insane amount of talent and upside. We’re talking, easily, a dozen DE’s worthy of a top 64 pick. That’s a pretty similar number to when we were projecting the WR class of 2014.
What this could mean: even though John Schneider has self-professed that DL always get overdrafted early; this may be a class of DE that you can find a stud deep into the 2nd round. This high supply of DE could even LOWER the demand for pass rushers, while GM’s are busy trying to snatch up low-supply positions like CB/S/OT. After all, in the WR rich class last year, we only actually saw five receivers come off the board in the 1st round.
If this does happen, it could put Seattle in position to make a decision: prioritize another position higher, OR pull the trigger on DE in the 1st while others are waiting, therefore (potentially) getting a higher rated DE on your board.
I honestly vacillate between these options all the time. This week, after Okung got hurt, Bailey/Britt looked bad, and our DL put up six sacks…I’m leaning toward trying to sneak away with one of my top 3 OT’s in the 1st, and then counting on the depth at DE to be able to get a "1st round talent" in the late 2nd. Today, let’s go with this option.
My top 3 OT: TJ Clemmings, Ty Sambrailo, and Jake Fisher. All three can play RT, if we want to break them in there. All three are nasty run-blockers. All three show the athleticism I like to see in pass-blocking to play LT. All three are headed to the Senior Bowl.
Clemmings (6’5"/305) is currently projected at #23 overall, and I think he goes higher (possibly top 10).
Remember…TJC is a converted DL. He’s been playing OL for two years. TWO.YEARS. That video might be equivalent to watching high school tape in the metaphorical player development arc.
Sambrailo (6’5"/315) is currently projected at #44, but I think he climbs into the 1st round (possibly only the late 1st, though…which could make him a fit for Seattle).
You have to note the endzone view of the very 1st play on that tape. Sambo just rocks the dude to the ground with one punch.
Fisher (6’6"/299) is currently projected at #70, but I do NOT see him available to the Seahawks in their 2nd round position. Even if Fisher’s proper value is, say, #50 overall, the Seahawks would have to take him in the 1st (or tradeback…but I’m not a fan of the TB this year).
I also have to, really quickly, embed this clip I found of Fisher from his sophomore year, when he was playing RT. About the 0:09 mark we see Fisher (#75) re-enter the frame about 35 yards downfield from the LOS:
So yeah…he’s probably a 1st rounder, too.
1.29 – Seattle Seahawks select OT, Oregon, Jake Fisher
Now, of course, we get to look at the remaining DE for the Hawks’ projected 2nd round position of #61 overall. I honestly think there is another trio of players here that the Seahawks would be most interested: Kikaha, Orchard, and Harold. Should any of them fall to the Hawks in the 2nd…pick them. Projections from yesterday’s draftscout update, however, cite only Eli Harold (#94) available at the Hawks 2nd round selection.
Harold is a really nice athlete; his SPARQ should be in the top 10 for his position (I’d look for them to compare favorably to Clay Matthews), and at listed 6’4"/250 he’s pretty much the ideal specs for a LEO.
The problem with Eli, and I said this as far back as May 2014, he reminds me a lot of Bruce Irvin…which is to say, I think he’s a few years away from being really elite. I think he can get there, but I don’t think he’d be the Day 1 force you’d hope for from a 2nd round pick. It’s a small caveat, and by no means a deal-breaker. He needs to get stronger as he was sometimes overpowered this year simply by TE’s, let alone OT’s.
I have a feeling the Seahawks will like Harold, but I’m going a different direction. This is a guy that isn’t built like a LEO. This is a guy that looks more like your traditional 3-4 DE’s. This is a player, at 6’6"/270, who looks more like a Seahawk 3rd-down 3-tech. And he can play some DT. This is a guy who finished the college regular season with 44 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 9 sacks, 2 INT, 3 PBU, 2 FF, 2 blocked kicks, and 15 QB hurries. This is a player currently projected at #125 overall. This is Preston Smith:
In my previous mock, I was taking Smith in the 4th round; a spot that he could still be found in this hypothetical ranking. But the more I watch him, the more I think this guy may spike up to the 1st round. Getting him in the 2nd, let alone the 4th, may be a pipe dream of a sleeper soon to be woken.
Preston, arguably, anchors better than the 288lb Michael Bennett (Ohio State), AND he has a better pass rush, plus versatility to play RDE/5T. And, unlike Eli Harold, Smith looks on tape to be a player that could contribute more IMMEDIATELY. He has one hell of a punch, the punch-punch-rip combo move is deadly, he’ll throw in a great swim move, he can drop surprisingly well in coverage, and he has the lateral agility to be used to great effect on stunts.
Scouting some players is like watching stand-up comedy…they seem most enjoyable the very first viewing, before the element of surprise is worn off. Preston Smith is not that. He’s the type of guy that you want to go back and watch repeatedly, because you always seem to be able to spot something that he’s doing you never noticed before. A player with levels is always the best discovery.
2.61 – Seattle Seahawks select DE, Mississippi State, Preston Smith
The 3rd round feels like a place the Seahawks can go many different directions: DT, RB, WR, etc. But, for me, I’m very locked in to going against grain (and Schneider’s history), and drafting the Seahawks a CB.
Due to what PCJS have meant to the league and the draft, and the impact they have made setting the trend of big CB; gone are the days of finding the big CB hidden away in the 5th round. Last year the sweet spot was the 4th round where Keith McGill, Walt Aikens, Pierre Desir, Dontae Johnson (all over 6’1") were each drafted. This year, I’m predicting it jumps up to the 3rd. And with the Seahawks drafting late in each round, their 4th round pick is essentially an early 5th. So draft slot sort of forces our hand to draft a CB earlier than we ever have in the PCJS history. But which CB?
The options are: Lorenzo Doss, Cam Thomas, Eric Rowe, Josh Shaw, Ladarius Gunter. I think Gunter and Shaw are pretty big reaches here…cross them off. Lorenzo Doss is very talented, but the only one of my list under 6’0". Leaves us with Cam Thomas and Eric Rowe. I like both. But the pick is Rowe, from Utah.
On film, I’ve watched three full games on Rowe. In one, he looked really bad. Repeatedly beat deep. But…in the other two, he became my favorite CB in this class. We’re talking 6’1"/201, a highly superior athlete, versatility/experience to play Safety, good shade technique, good ball skills, good tackling (57 tackles total), and probably the best press tech I’ve seen this year (I really appreciate that it’s press and not press-bail…rare in college). Here is tape of him vs WSU, which you know had to have a lot of passing in it. (Worth noting that Utah uses Rowe pretty much as Seattle uses Sherm: LCB on every play.):
There is a play at 1:53 in that tape that really interests me. And, on first viewing, it seems a rather innocuous play. Just a slant pattern that Rowe’s mark isn’t even targeted on. Somehow, Eric sees his mark and another WR coming on a slant from the opposite side, realizes their trajectory is leading them (and a Utah LB dropping in coverage) into some friendly fire, and he decides to take his coverage wide outside the fray; thereby keeping the entire play in front of him and likely keeping WSU to gaining a maximum of 2-3 yards. It might have allowed the Cougs a 1st down, but it would have prevented the play from breaking open into an explosive RAC. Smart football.
3.93 – Seattle Seahawks select CB, Utah, Eric Rowe
In my first mock this year, I gave the Seahawks the high-end conditional pick from the NY Jets for the Percy Harvin Trade. As of today, I’m not. John Idzik, the Jet GM who made the trade, may end up run out of town soon, and the ownership or next GM may cut Harvin just to keep the higher pick.
The Seahawks should still receive 2-3 compensation picks for the slate of FA players they lost after the 2013 season, but their first time on the clock in the 4th will be their native pick at (est.) #129. Having at least 3 picks this round makes the order of my projections more-or-less interchangeable, but I’ll start with the one I’m most set on acquiring at this point: WR.
Many of you have made your desires for a "BIG WR" abundantly clear, and I don’t disagree. I just happen to think we can accomplish that, this year, in the 4th round. This is my list of potential WR targets that are both 6’2"+ and projecting available on early day four: Dezmin Lewis (#197), Jordan Taylor (#215), Kasen Williams (#226), Devante Davis (#252), Cam Worthy (#279), Darren Waller (#403), Jamal Robinson (#572), Kenny Cook (#586), Deandre Smelter (#613), Markeith Ambles (#764), Breshad Perriman (unranked), Isaac Blakeney (unranked), Keyarris Garrett (unranked). And that isn’t even comprehensive. That’s filtered through my lens of "I would consider him". Many of those guys I would consider more AFTER the 4th round, but it helps illustrate that there are big targets available throughout.
Personally, I narrow my list for the 4th round to: Lewis, Taylor, Worthy, Waller (Smelter, Ambles, Blakeney I might try to snag later…Jordan Taylor too, depending on his 40-time). Lewis, Worthy, and Waller should all become far more relevant after their combine/pro-day/SPARQ numbers come out.
Cam Worthy (6’3"/220) could end up testing like Dwayne Bowe, but with better vertical. On the year, CW has put together 47 catches, 886 yards, 3 TD’s, but a top 20 YPC of 18.85:
Darren Waller (6’5"/241) was pointed out to me by Zach Whitman. There is limited tape to be found on him with Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, but what I have seen…this kid is every bit as athletic as Kelvin Benjamin, but at a fraction of the price:
I don’t remember where/when/why I first looked into Dezmin Lewis (6’4"/212), but I know I’ve been waiting on a good chunk of tape of him for a while. He goes to the same school that former Seahawk UDFA Chase Dixon came from, and at that FCS school Dixon has had a year of 64 catches, 945 yards, and 9 TD’s. Dez was recently named to the Senior Bowl, as well:
I really like all three of these WR. When push comes to shove, I think I personally rank them: Lewis, Worthy, Waller. But if Worthy didn’t have a mysterious team suspension out there on his record, I might switch him to #1 of these three.
4.129 – Seattle Seahawks select WR, Central Arkansas, Dezmin Lewis
I believe there is a possibility that the Seahawks end up with three compensation picks at the end of the 4th round, but two picks is almost a lock. We’ll call them 4.134 and 4.138. Obviously, order of these two picks is pretty irrelevant.
This is the first point in my mock draft where I’m not set on a position. It’s completely wide open. I’m, more or less, just looking down the draftscout big-board and picking from guys that I want. At 134-ish, I’m most interested in DT Joey Mbu (#137), LB Ben Heeney (#139), WR Kenny Bell (#158).
We’ll go with Kansas LB Ben Heeney (6’0"/230) first, since he was the player I talked about on twitter as being a likely suspect as the unidentified MIKE in the espn.com story on former Seahawk talent evaluator Scot McCloughan. Heeney’s play at 0:58 appears to me to be the play depicted in the story:
Regardless if Heeney is the right player, he is a stud and an awesome find. He ranks 13th in the country in total tackles, and actually jumps up to 3rd in the country in solo tackles. I don’t really think the Seahawks go LB this early, nor do I think Heeney will still be available day 3. But just in the name of dibsies:
4.134 – Seattle Seahawks select LB, Kansas, Ben Heeney
The idea of drafting two WR in the 4th round is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s mostly dependent on Schneiz having enough intel that specific players from other positions will, in fact, be available later, as projected. This would very much be a luxury pick, but it’s really only luxe if you think good special teams is a luxury. The Seahawks current ineffectiveness on ST (punts, especially) suggests that this might be more of a need than we realize.
Anyways, I’m looking at a 2nd WR in the 4th, but this one NEEDS to be a return man. There are numerous options in the sub-6’0" market…my favorite being Darius Jennings from UVA…but I’d like even more if it were a bigger WR that could replace Bryan Walters on the roster and punts, but also fit into a rotation on offense. My two qualifiers are Kenny Bell (6’1"/185), and Tre McBride (6’1"/205).
I like Kenny a lot…he has more shiftiness…but I think Tre, and his sturdier frame, looks more like a Seahawk. McBride finished this year with 64 catches, 809 yards, 4 TD’s, 7.9ypr on punts, and 20.7ypr on kickoffs. In 2013, Tre’s punt returns were fewer but averaged 19.7ypr, and his kick returns spiked up to 27.5ypr.
4.138 – Seattle Seahawks select WR, William and Mary, Tre McBride
Here, again, in the 5th-6th round area, the Seahawks will find themselves with (likely) three rapid picks, all within 13 slots of each other. Essentially all of my picks from here out will qualify as "reaches" on the draftscout model. But I don’t care. I’m more right than it is.
With the earlier of the Seahawks’ two 5th round picks I’d like to go DT. My names to consider all come with differing body types, and differing roles on a defense. From NT, to 5tech, to versatile players that can line up at multiple spots.
I like Terry Williams at the NT, I’ve got Chuka Ndulue as more of a 5T, Xavier Williams can give a 0, 1, or 3 technique, and Marcus Hardison looks capable of playing 3T and 5T. Similarly, I try to think of these players in terms of who would they replace on the roster? Terry W would have to kick off Brandon Mebane, Chuka could play a similar role to Scruggs, Hardison reminds me more of Kevin Williams, and Xavier Williams would play a similar role to Travian Robertson.
It’s a very tough call, but I’m leaning toward Chuka. If he can learn to do this regularly…he can be really special:
Chuka is currently ranked #338 overall, but that should gain some helium when he hits the combine.
5.169 – Seattle Seahawks select DT, Oklahoma, Chuka Ndulue
After padding the DL, let’s bounce back to the OL. Having drafted an OT in the 1st round, let’s now addres interior OL. In fact, let’s address both C and OG with the same player.
Louisville’s Jake Smith spent 2013 as the Cardinals Center, and this year he swaps back and forth with John Miller between strongside and weakside Guard. Essentially, he can play LG, C, and RG. He’d be a terrific candidate to replace any one of: LJP, Unger, Lewis, or Carpenter.
Smith is currently #224 overall. This pick could easily go Oklahoma OT Tyrus Thompson, and then convert him to LG…just like we did with Carpenter (only on purpose).
5.175 – Seattle Seahawks select OL, Louisville, Jake Smith
This next pick will be the pick we got from the NYJ for Percy, which basically is an upgrade on the 6th round pick we gave up for Terrelle Pryor.
We’re getting close to wrapping our draft up, but with two picks left we can start thinking about UDFA. If there are players or positions that we feel good about this draft’s remaining depth at, or if we feel confident in our scouting to find UDFA better at certain positions; we can go opposite those plans in the 6th and 7th.
I happen to think the Hawks have had great luck finding Safeties and Linebackers in UDFA (WR too), so I won’t mock either of those positions. I wouldn’t mind a RB scratch ticket here with names like John Crockett and Alonzo Harris holding some intrigue.
This could be a spot to double-down on DT. Hardison and Xavier Williams would still be projected available. Having picked up a couple of sub-300lb DL players already, I’m less concerned with 3rd down here, and more about stopping the run. Xavier Williams finished his season at UNI with 93 total tackles. Danny Shelton, who had an insane number of tackles for a DT, had 89 (Danny played one fewer game). The rest of Xavier’s stat line reads: 14.0 TFL, 8.0 sacks, 3 PBU, and 2 blocked kicks.
6.182 – Seattle Seahawks select DT, UNI, Xavier Williams
2015 projects as a tough year for TE’s, but I’ve found one that has projection to the tune of "Unranked", who stands at listed 6’6"/250, and makes catches like:
7.244 – Seattle Seahawks select TE, UVA, Zach Swanson
UDFA – Right off the bat, try to get one of Davis Tull or Sage Harold as high-SPARQ athletes that you can audition as LEO’s the same way we previously did with Benson Mayowa.
If Detrick Bonner is available, he would be a nice replacement for the free agent Jeron Johnson as a backup FS. Another possibility could be Tra’Mayne Bondurant from ASU.
BYU corner Robertson Daniel is projected undrafted, and his 6’1" frame is very much a priority if available.
At LB, check in on Maurice Falls, David Mayo, and Stanley Andre.
2015 Seattle Seahawks Mock Draft Results
1.29 –OT, Oregon, Jake Fisher
2.61 –DE, Mississippi State, Preston Smith
3.93 –CB, Utah, Eric Rowe
4.129 –WR, Central Arkansas, Dezmin Lewis
4.134 –LB, Kansas, Ben Heeney
4.138 –WR, William and Mary, Tre McBride
5.169 –DT, Oklahoma, Chuka Ndulue
5.175 –OL, Louisville, Jake Smith
6.182 –DT, UNI, Xavier Williams
7.244 –TE, UVA, Zach Swanson