In addition to breaking down some of my favorite players at each position in this year's Draft (i.e., "Kelly's Heroes,"), I'm going to run a short series of mock drafts for Seattle that could highlight players that the Seahawks could target. These are not meant to be predictive or even necessarily accurate -- though I'll be conservative with where I expect players to go -- but are more meant as discussion starters for a few things, namely positional needs and positional value.
Some of y'all hate Mock Drafts and in general hate speculation on the upcoming three-day spectacle, but I DON'T, SO BACK OFF. Basically, this will serve as 1) a quick scouting report on a few interesting players and more importantly, 2) as a ten-thousand-foot look at what the Seahawks may decide to do this year with their 11 picks. Where they will get what, in other words.
Mock Draft 1.0:
2.31 (63) DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson 6'1, 290
3.31 (96) NB Bobby McCain, Memphis 5'10 195
4.13 (112) WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford 6'0, 211
4.31 (130) WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska 6'1, 200
4.35 (134) LEO Shaq Riddick, W. Virginia 6'5, 246
5.31 (167) C Max Garcia, Florida 6'4, 309
5.34 (170) OG Quinton Spain, W. Virginia 6'5, 332
6.5 (180) DT/DE David Irving, Iowa St 6'7, 285
6.34 (209) CB Dexter McDonald, Kansas 6'1, 205
6.39 (214) OT Chaz Green, Florida 6'5, 315
7.31 (248) OLB Rishard Cliett, USF 6'2, 221
The Pick: DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson 6'1, 290
The rationale: Jarrett is a "poor man's Aaron Donald" in that he's undersized as an NFL defensive lineman but plays with a lot of power and jolt in his hands. He's a former high school wrestler that won the state heavyweight title his senior year so he understands leverage (and the Seahawks always seem to love these former wrestlers). The Seahawks don't necessarily have a pressing need at the nickel pass rusher spot but Brandon Mebane is getting older and if you're grading against your roster to find that penetrating nose tackle or 3-technique in the mold of Clinton McDonald, Jarrett might be up there with Jordan Hill and is probably higher-graded than Jesse Williams, Jimmy Staton, Greg Scruggs, and D'Anthony Smith.
Bottom line, you can't have enough pass rushers on the defensive line, and the Seahawks get an underrated one here in Jarrett. It's tough to get early production out of late round developmental players on the defensive line, so you don't wait too long to target one -- Jarrett would probably contribute in nickel looks in year one.
Similar options that fit the rationale above: Michael Bennett, Ohio State; Xavier Cooper, Washington State; Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Southern Miss; Christian Covington, Rice
The Pick: NB Bobby McCain, Memphis 5'10 195
The rationale: With Jeremy Lane recovering from a torn ACL, Marcus Burley becomes the Seahawks' presumptive starter at the nickel spot (to be challenged by Will Blackmon), which makes this now-starter role a pretty key one to address in the draft.
McCain doesn't fit the Seahawks' standard length prerequisites but actually is about the same size as Burley so there is some precedent in having interest of a player in McCain's ilk to be used in the slot. He reminds me a little bit of Antoine Winfield in his style of play (i.e., he plays bigger than his listed measurements).
He's extremely quick, extremely physical, is a good tackler, has swagger, has confidence, and was a ball-hawk for Memphis, with an absurd 11 interceptions and 19 passes defensed over his last 22 starts. Projections I've seen have him going from the early fourth round to the sixth round, so the Seahawks don't mess around and just pick him at the end of the third. They thumb their noses at the arm-length and height pre-reqs that they usually go with and decide they want a specialized nickel coverage player.
Getting a nickel corner into camp to compete with Burley and/or Blackmon is a huge deal for the Seahawks here, and McCain was also a pretty good returner for Memphis so he could compete on special teams right away as well.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Steven Nelson, Oregon State; Senquez Golson, Mississippi; D'Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon; Bryce Callahan, Rice; Darryl Roberts, Marshall
The Pick: WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford 6'1, 211
The rationale: In my mind, the Seahawks will almost surely pick a receiver that will have people up in arms, and picking Ty Montgomery would probably have quite a few people scratching their heads. Why do I think this? They've done it multiple times over the past few years, from Golden Tate to Kris Durham to Chris Harper to Paul Richardson. Montgomery would be another in the long line of incomplete project types deemed "reaches" by draft media (and in some cases, they were absolutely right), but these guys have been attractive to Seattle because of physical attributes.
Montgomery gets railed for his hands and is more of an "offensive weapon" than a pure receiver, but he's a great athlete with a strong, physical, and decisive running style that makes him excellent on returns. Some people look at him as a running back more than a receiver but in this case, I look at him as a return specialist. I just don't think that Pete Carroll is going to get out of the Draft without making John Schneider grab a stud returner -- I don't know if his heart can bear another season like the return-cluster that was 2014.
Montgomery is that guy that could start in that role from day one. He may never end up playing receiver for the Seahawks -- more likely he'd be a gadget type of guy in a similar role that Ricardo Lockette plays for last year's team with two or three packages per game -- but he has the potential to be a pro bowl returner and that's a huge value for that mid-round pick.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Mario Alford, West Virginia; Antwan Goodley, Baylor; Stefon Diggs, Maryland
The Pick: WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska 6'1, 200
The rationale: What is it with the good old fourth round and the Seahawks picking receivers? I've done it again here by having Seattle take Kenny Bell, but there's some pretty solid rationale that the team might like him.
Bell reminds me a lot of Paul Richardson in a lot of ways, actually, and it's not just because he's also rail-thin. He's consistently produced in an offense with atrocious quarterback play (actually is Nebraska's all time leader in catches). He's got another "gear" that he can hit when the ball is in the air, allowing him to outrun cornerbacks and get under deep bombs. He's a high-effort, highly competitive player that works back to the football when the pocket breaks down. He could factor in on return teams, so his versatility would be important. Also similar to Richardson coming out of Colorado, there have been some questions about the reliability of Bell's hands.
Away from the Richardson similarities, Bell is a very strong blocking receiver that puts maximum effort in on the edges. When you watch cut-ups of Ameer Abdullah, it's hard not to notice how often he makes a cut off of one of Bell's seal blocks downfield. Obviously, this is huge in Seattle's offense.
He can play in the slot or on the outside.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Dres Anderson, Utah; Rannell Hall, Central Florida; Evan Spencer, Ohio State
The Pick: LEO Shaq Riddick, W. Virginia 6'5, 246
The rationale: The similarities between Bruce Irvin and Riddick are pretty funny. Both played way out of position in West Virginia's 3-3-5 stack and both have great untapped athleticism that make them/made them projectable to the NFL.
I'm guessing that Riddick is on Seattle's radar as that hybrid type of SAM linebacker and LEO rush end, and he's toolsy enough to take in the mid-rounds somewhere. He had great testing numbers -- both in the forthy (4.64) and three-cone (6.7), and his explosiveness shows up in the 36" vert. He's not the freak 4.4 guy that Bruce is, but he's still a very good athlete.
Also, unlike Bruce, who came into the league as a 25 year old rookie, Riddick is still only 22 years old so will have some time to develop his body for the NFL and learn pass rush and linebacker techniques over the first two years or so before Seattle uses him heavily. In the meantime, he'd be a special teamer and backup.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Diontrez Mount, Louisville; Obum Gwacham, Oregon State; Ryan Russell, Purdue
The Pick: C Max Garcia, Florida 6'4, 309
The rationale: The Seahawks will still sign another center in free agency most likely, whether it's Chris Myers or Stefen Wisneiwski, but adding a couple of interior linemen in the Draft is probably in their plans. Max Garcia has been getting a little more pub lately and is an interesting mid-round option for Seattle. He couldn't work out at the Combine but at his recent pro day he put up 30 reps on bench, showing great upper body strength and weight room dedication. More importantly, he's a three-year starter for both Maryland and Florida, and has great size to play a number of positions on the line. He's played left tackle, left guard, and center in college, but projects to the middle -- either guard or center -- in the pros. As you probably know, the Seahawks love versatility. He's got huge hands (10 1/4), long arms (33 3/4), and a huge wingspan (82"). His off-field character is reportedly off the charts.
It's been said in a few places that he's more of a fit for a power scheme, so we'll see if the Seahawks and their zone-blocking scheme end up meshing. Either way, he's an interesting prospect.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech; B.J. Finney, Kansas State; Reese Dismukes, Auburn; Greg Mancz, Toledo; Chad Hamilton, Coastal Carolina
The Pick: OG Quinton Spain, W. Virginia 6'5, 332
The rationale: Great athlete, mauler-type of guard prospect with that Tom Cable 'nasty' to him. Reminds me a little bit of Alvin Bailey in terms of body type and surprising athleticism to go with it. Again, the Seahawks will probably add some talent on the interior line in the Draft, and Spain would be a very good option.
Similar options that fit the rationale: John Miller, Louisville, Antoine Everett, McNeese State; Mitch Morse, Missouri, Mark Glowinski, West Virginia; Terry Poole, San Diego State
The Pick: DT/DE David Irving, Iowa St 6'7, 285
The rationale: Freak athlete with freakish length. Has an 85" wingspan, which is pretty unheard of. Lots of red flags and was dismissed from the Iowa State team last year. As long as the background stuff checks out and the Seahawks feel comfortable with where he is mentally at this point, it would not surprise me to see them take him and plug him in as a hybrid end/tackle in their DL rotation.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Josh Bredl, Colorado St Pueblo; Tory Slater, West Georgia; Josh Watson, Clemson; Lynden Trail, Norfolk State; Davon Walls; Ray Drew, Georgia; Brian Mihalik, Boston College
The Pick: CB Dexter McDonald, Kansas 6'1, 205
The rationale: There's a few really interesting outside corners late in this year's draft and Dexter McDonald is a name to remember. He's long, fast (4.34 forty), jumps high (40.5" vert), is explosive (11'2" broad) and if you go watch his tape this year vs. Kevin White, you might wonder why he's not getting very much buzz. Regardless, if he's still around late, could definitely see the Seahawks selecting him.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Julian Wilson, Oklahoma State; CB Tye Smith, Towson; Tray Walker, Texas Southern; Lydell Johnson, Emporia St; Garry Peters, Clemson; De'Vante Bausby, Pitt St
The Pick: OT Chaz Green, Florida 6'5, 315
The rationale: Seattle will likely load up on offensive linemen this year after losing both James Carpenter and Max Unger (plus Steven Schilling and Lemuel Jeanpierre and Garrett Scott), and if Green's still on the board this late he's probably worth a look. We're now so late into the draft that I'm simply saying: Draft a developmental left tackle prospect that can compete with Garry Gilliam and/or whoever is backing up Russell Okung.
Similar options that fit the rationale: OT Laurence Gibson, Virginia Tech 6'6, 305; Tyreek Burwell, Cincinnati; Darryl Baldwin, Ohio State; Doniel Gambrell; Kendall Lamm, Appalachian State
The Pick: OLB Rishard Cliett, USF 6'2, 221
The rationale: Very solid athlete that ran in the low 4.4's or high 4.5's at his pro day while jumping 38" in the vert. Absurdly long arms (33 1/8") with an 80" wingspan. That's a Seahawky looking linebacker right there.
Similar options that fit the rationale: Tony Steward, Clemson; Jimmy Hall, Northwestern; Matthew Wells, Mississippi State; Edmond Robinson, Newberry