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NFL Mock Draft 2016: Rounding up post-Combine mock drafts for the Seahawks

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The NFL Combine is in the books and while it may not change things drastically for NFL teams, the perception of a handful of the draft's top players is definitely evolving among analysts. Whether it's their testing scores, their presser home runs or flubs, or a combination, we've got "risers" and "fallers" and that affects the mock draft world. So, whether you love mocks or hate mocks, I'm here to give you a round up of what all the experts are saying.

My favorite source for mock draft tracking is SB Nation's Adam Stites' regularly updated spreadsheet (which tracks 62 mock drafts), and it can be embedded here as a pie chart. We posted this last week before the Combine too, and before all the testing and interviews, the most common choices for the Seahawks nationwide were:

Michigan State OT Jack Conklin
Baylor DT Andrew Billings
Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
Indiana OT Jason Spriggs
Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins

In other words, analysts were/are (smartly) concentrating on the trenches for the Seahawks. Now, let's take a look at whether or not the Combine affected this much. Here's the current outlook.

Just looking through the results, the leaders appear to be (not in hierarchical order):

Michigan State OT Jack Conklin
Baylor DT Andrew Billings
Alabama DT/DE Jarran Reed
Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
Ole Mill DT Robert Nkemdiche
Indiana OT Jason Spriggs
Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins

Ok, so, things have not really changed much for the Seahawks. Jarran Reed is a new name perhaps to keep an eye on, but the one player making a big jump (or, fall, really) is Robert Nkemdiche, whose presser at the combine raised a lot of eyebrows and subsequently produced some scalding hot takes. He threw his teammate Laremy Tunsil under the bus, he admitted to being lazy on the field, and it was just kind of a disaster.

Nkemdiche is falling because of this, even despite his outstanding athletic output -- he finished 2nd among DT in Zach Whitman's SPARQ metric at the Combine, as a 90th percentile NFL athlete -- but a lot of people now see him being available to Seattle at that 26th spot. For what it's worth, even looking past the red flags of off-field stuff, Nkemdiche really underwhelmed in the production point of view in college too, so you're really faced with projecting a guy to improve as a player too once he becomes a pro.

Let's take a few snippets from the mock drafts around the web:

SB Nation's Dan Kadar went with Clemson DE Shaq Lawson, a very interesting pick for Seattle.

Lawson is an ascending player following his Combine performance, so his stock may be much higher than this come April. The Seahawks are negotiating with Michael Bennett on a new deal, but if things dissolve and he wants out, Seattle will need a defensive lineman who can create disruption, Lawson's specialty.

CBS Sports' Rob Rang has Seattle taking OT Jack Conklin.

Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: Seattle's offensive line was a weak spot all last season and with pending free agent left tackle Russell Okung likely to draw significant attention on the open market, the cap-challenged Seahawks may be forced to look to the draft for reinforcements. Conklin is a former walk-on turned All-American who plays with the aggression and physicality that the Seahawks lacked up front in 2015.

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler picks OT Jason Spriggs.

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana: Seattle has several question marks on the offensive line, and left tackle Russell Okung is a free agent. Spriggs has core strength issues, but his frame and athleticism will be extremely appealing for teams with needs on the offensive line.

CBS Sports Pete Prisco goes with OT Taylor Decker.

Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: They have major issues up front and tackle Russell Okung and guard J.R. Sweezy are free agents. This is a player who could play left or right tackle and he?s one of those kids the scouts love. The scouts I talked with raved about his work ethic.

So, a clean sweep of offensive tackles for the CBS boys, and while the need for tackle is obvious, it's unclear that any of these guys are going to be available that late in the real draft coming up this May. Anything could happen, but of those three tackles, I think the idea that Spriggs is alive at 26 is most realistic. I'm thinking Decker and Conklin will be gone, but weird things happen.

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah mocks Alabama DT A'Shawn Robinson.

Robinson is one the top interior defenders in the draft and he would fit perfectly in Seattle.

When I talked to offensive linemen at the Combine last week in Indianapolis, Robinson is a name that I heard quite a few times in response to the question of which defensive linemen was their toughest matchup.

From my column:

Alabama lineman A'Shawn Robinson was another player who left an impression on blockers.

Wisconsin tackle Tyler Marz spoke about Robinson's stoutness, especially in the run game. "I think No. 86 from Alabama (Robinson), in the three-down, he's a beast of a guy, he's a long guy."

Ole Miss' Fahn Cooper said the same thing. "In the run game," he said, "A'Shawn Robinson was a real strong dude. He's probably the best interior D lineman I played."

Obviously, Tide center Ryan Kelly thought highly of the player he had to go against in practice every day.

When asked about which defensive linemen were the toughest he faced all year, he immediately pointed to his own defensive line. "You're going against Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson every day, those guys are incredible," he said. "Going against those guys every day made us a better offensive line, made me a better player."

SI's Robert Mays went with another highly-regarded interior lineman, Sheldon Rankins.

Seattle's offensive line needs a ton of help, but with most of the ready-to-play options already gone taking Rankins would give them a chance to make an area of strength even better.

USA Today's Nate Davis did the same.

Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: He's disruptive and versatile and fills a gap for a team that will need to reload the middle of its D-line. The O-line will have to be rebuilt in subsequent rounds.

I heard about Rankins from college offensive linemen a lot in Indy as well.

"Rankins was just a very powerful run stopper," said NC State G Joe Thuney. "They ran a 3-4 and was just really effective at plugging holes."

Michigan center Graham Glasglow also mentioned Rankins, a player he faced in the Senior Bowl.

"In the regular season," said Glasgow when asked about which defensive linemen impressed him the most, "I would have to say (Penn State defensive tackle) Austin Johnson, but I think Sheldon Rankins was pretty good. He's just real quick. He's quick and big."

Was it Rankins' spin move that made him so hard to block? "Not even that. He's just a good player," said Glasgow before admitting that the spin move was impressive. "Never seen that though. Never seen a nose tackle spin move. Never seen that."

CBS Sports' Will Brinson threw out an intriguing name for the Seahawks, LB Jaylon Smith.

Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame: The Seahawks' brass feels like a group secure enough and willing to gamble on grabbing top-end talent with injury risk (and a fifth-year option) here.

Smith was, at one point, touted as a potential No. 1 overall pick this year, but a devastating knee injury has teams wondering if he'll ever be the same. The medicals in the Combine seemed to point to the fact that he won't play in 2016, and may never play at all. The knee injury has been compared to the one that former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who obviously never played an NFL down.

Now, each injury is different and each person is different, but it's interesting. Would Seattle risk using their first round pick on a guy that may never play? He's an elite talent, but the injury makes it very difficult.

ESPN's Todd McShay went with Robert Nkemdiche.

The Seahawks have shown a willingness to take a chance on risk/reward prospects in the past, and Nkemdiche, who comes with plenty of off-field baggage, certainly fits that bill. Even though his tape is inconsistent, he has top-10 talent, and his combine workout confirmed his rare athletic ability. According to ESPN Stats & Information data, Nkemdiche is just the fifth defensive lineman since 2006 to weigh in at 290-plus pounds, run a sub-5.00 40-yard dash and jump at least 35 inches in the vertical.

So did Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

The plight of Robert Nkemdiche on draft day may be one to watch, given that he was a top-five player heading into the season but is now potentially falling to the late first or early second round due to numerous off-field questions.

The big defensive tackle has obvious ability and athleticism, and the key is finding the balance between his risk and reward. If you can get the next Fletcher Cox or Cameron Jordan at the end of Round 1, that's a pretty good deal. There's no doubt NFL general managers will be weighing the same question for the next seven weeks.

In Seattle, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are no strangers to taking on off-field risks and hoping for on-field results. If Nkemdiche is going in the first round, the Seahawks are a likely destination.

Pro Football Focus also mocked Nkemdiche to Seattle, and they liked his production based on their tape study.

Perhaps a risky and somewhat redundant play for Seattle, but Nkemdiche has the potential to become the best interior pass rusher in the draft. He ranked ninth in the nation in that department last year at +23.4, while improving against the run at +11.7. He can play a similar role as Bullard, albeit with different skillsets, as a base defensive end and interior rusher in the mold of current Seahawk, Michael Bennett.

Real Football Network's Pat Kirwin (who is close friends with Pete Carroll, for what that's worth) goes with Jack Conklin.

The Seahawks need offensive line help and it may be time to tap into it in the first round, rather than hope that offensive line coach Tom Cable can develop another late-round pick. It may be hard for the Seahawks to resist Derrick Henry here.

USA Today's Jon Ledyard picks Florida's Jonathan Bullard, a move that Zach Whitman would love mightily.

Overview: It's probably lazy to mock Bullard here, but the Seahawks never do what we expect, so good luck trying to guess John Schneider's strategy. Bullard fits beautifully in Seattle, where he can play a number of techniques along their multiple front defense. The explosive Gators defender can attack gaps in a disruptive fashion, bursting off the football with eye-popping quickness and physicality. His violent playing style is what Seattle looks for in their defensive linemen, but Bullard can also two-gap and hold the point of attack when necessary as well.

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