For a while I reasoned that this year's draft would be one in which the Seahawks held on to their first-round pick. It's been a full presidential election cycle since they made a selection in round one, when they took Bruce Irvin at #15 in 2012. Since then, their first overall pick has been at 62 in 2013 (Christine Michael), 45 in 2014 (Paul Richardson), and 63 in 2015 (Frank Clark).
Keeping the 26th overall pick makes sense. Seattle needs to rebuild the offensive line, replenish the defensive line with young talent, and find at least one good pass-rusher, and that native first-round pick affords plenty of options for any of those positions.
But I don't think they'll stay at 26, not in a draft that's so thin in top-tier talent but bulging with second-tier quality and overall depth. Seahawks GM John Schneider remarked that the 2016 draft is the "best […] since we've been here" from a "numbers standpoint," and that they "usually have about 130 or 140 guys on our board," but that this year it's more like 200.
Two-hundred guys on their board this year. Not many true first-round talents (12 to 15 maybe), but oodles of depth. After months of watching film, reading player scouting reports, and following Rob Staton's excellent draft blog, I'm convinced that the meat and potatoes (or tofu and kale if you prefer) of this draft will be spread across many rounds, which is great news for the Seahawks and their nine picks.
In this mock draft I'm going to be selfish and choose twelve picks for the Seahawks, which would happen with the following exchanges:
Trade #1. Seattle moves their first-round pick (1/26) and their third-round pick (3/90) to San Francisco for picks 2/37, 3/68, and 4/104.
Whether I go by the traditional "Jimmy Johnson" draft value chart or Chase Stuart's career value-based calculator this trade is in Seattle's favor, but my reasoning for SF making the deal is this: The 49ers won't draft a QB with their first-round pick (1/7), but will want to snag one with their next. By moving up 11 spots, they greatly increase their odds of getting someone like Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Dak Prescott, or whomever they might value. On Seattle's side, moving down 11 spots could mean they lose out on guys like Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, and Vernon Butler, but I have a specific player in mind who should be available at that 37th spot. This swap would also give the Hawks a very valuable early pick in the 3rd round and another one in the 4th.
Trade #2. Seattle ships their second-round pick (2/56) to Cleveland for picks 3/77, 4/100, and 5/141.
After positing a number of scenarios for a second trade, this one made the most sense. Cleveland's trade-down with the Eagles left the Browns with 12 picks in the draft, and relinquishing their mid-round 3rd, one of the top two picks in the 4th, and an early 5th for Seattle's 2nd seems fair (and it's almost totally even per the Jimmy Johnson chart). For the Hawks, they get a mid-round 3rd, another early 4th, and an early 5th.
Now on to the mock.
Round 2, Pick 37. Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
Drafting Coleman gives the Seahawks immediate competition at the right tackle spot. He's a long, powerful, aggressive lineman who excels in run blocking and has enough quickness and lateral agility to protect the edge in pass-blocking situations. His big, hefty mitts provide a massive punch, and he looks flexible and well-balanced—too many offensive tackles wind up in weird positions or on the ground too often, but you don't see that with Coleman. With 25 consecutive starts at the left tackle position over 2014-2015 Coleman offers flexibility at either tackle position, but with Garry Gilliam sliding over to the blind side, right tackle makes the most sense for Coleman starting out.
Why go with Coleman over Germain Ifedi, Jason Spriggs, or another OL with that first pick, especially when the only test numbers we have from Shon are a 5.18-second 40-yard dash and 22 reps on the bench? He just looks like a better player. A nastier player. Someone who takes nothing for granted and would give the team everything he had. After a terrific 2015 campaign, he looks more pro-ready than the vast majority of the tackles entering the draft, including Ifedi and Spriggs.
For those of you who don't know his story, Coleman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2010 at age 18. He battled cancer with quiet determination and trained throughout chemotherapy. In the 2013 season he backed up Greg Robinson, the #2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, before getting the starting job in 2014. Thankfully Coleman has had a clean bill of health cancer-wise, though he did have surgery to repair an MCL tear in his right knee after the 2015 season, which is why he didn't fully participate in the scouting combine or his team's pro day.
So Coleman's health history is a concern, and he will turn 25 in November, but his ability, grit (very, very gritty), and attitude make him a terrifically Seahawky choice for their offensive line and first pick in the draft.
Major props to Rob Staton for being one of the first to provide in-depth coverage on Coleman. Here's a link to a detailed scouting report.
Round 3, Pick 68. Connor McGovern, OT/G, Missouri
Next up is part two of Seattle's o-line rebuild through the draft. McGovern gives them a powerful, athletic lineman who played tackle in college but will likely move inside to guard in the NFL, though he does offer positional flexibility. He was a fairly easy choice here, as he appears Seahawky in every way, and has been associated with them (in an unofficial capacity) for a while now.
In addition to incredible strength (33 reps of 225 lbs on the bench, six squats of 690 lbs, partially torn pectoral muscle while trying to bench
a Harley 1200 Custom 515 lbs), McGovern offers very good athleticism—a 5.11-second 40 with a speedy 1.73-second 10-yard split, 7.5 seconds on the 3-cone drill, a 33" vertical jump and 9'1" on the broad jump.
On film McGovern plays with balance, good footwork, and of course power, which he appears to utilize in an efficient manner. He looks like a better run blocker than pass blocker at this point, but he's not far from being NFL-ready.
[Link to Draft Breakdown film on McGovern]
Round 3, Pick 77. Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
I went back-and-forth between several defensive players before arriving at Henry for Seattle's first pick on that side of the ball. Guys like Joshua Perry (Ohio State), Kyler Fackrell (Utah State), and Charles Tapper (Oklahoma) are all appealing, but Henry seems like the most complete package for Seattle at this spot, a defensive tackle who's primarily a 3-tech but can play anywhere along the line.
After Sheldon Rankins (who should be off the board in the first half of round one), the quality of interior pass-rushers becomes spotty. Henry, who's been underrated as a round 4, 5, or even 6 talent by some sources, offers upside as an interior pass-rusher to go with good size, length (33.4" arms), power, explosiveness, and positional flexibility.
Henry bursts off the snap with great leverage and huge (10.8"), strong hands. He's been flagged a number of times for neutral zone infractions, but such is the cost of aggressive play. He's athletic for his size, with an even 5-second 40-yard dash, a 1.74-second 10-yard split, 4.53-second short shuttle, 30.5" vertical jump, and 9'2" broad jump.
Henry, who happens to be buddies with Frank Clark, has shown dramatic improvement each year at Michigan: 2.5 tackles for loss and no sacks as a freshman (10 games), 5.5 TFL and 3 sacks as a sophomore (8 games), and 10 TFL with 6.5 sacks as a junior (13 games). He just turned 21, so he has a lot of maturing left to do, but his current skillset is impressive and he could become a valuable starter on the d-line within a year or two.
[Link to Draft Breakdown film on Henry]
Round 3, Pick 97. Jordan Jenkins, OLB/EDGE, Georgia
Jenkins plays with incredible awareness and aggressiveness. He locks on to the ball and goes after it with very good power and speed, bull-rushing his way past slow and helpless offensive linemen. Depending on the offensive set, he can play outside linebacker or defensive end, and has enough quickness in coverage to handle bigger receivers on short passes.
Along with good size and length (6'3" with 34+" arms) is terrific athleticism—4.71 seconds in the 40 with a 1.57-second 10-yard split complements a stellar 38" vertical leap (batted passes anyone?) and a 10'3" broad jump.
Although Jenkins is a senior who played in 52 games (32 starts) and has good polish, he's only 21 years old and has plenty of room to grow. Across his four years at Georgia he was productive and remarkably consistent—he had 5 sacks each in his first three seasons and 4 in his last season while racking up 204 total tackles, including 39 for a loss. He also forced 6 fumbles in his career (Pete and John love the forced turnovers) and defensed 5 passes.
[Link to Draft Breakdown film on Jenkins]
Round 4, Pick 100. Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State
Ervin's play reminds me of Percy Harvin, just without the crappy attitude and body-slamming of teammates. Though not quite the elite athlete that Harvin was, Ervin looks impressive on tape and showed off his stuff at the combine, and brings a similar skillset—a Swiss Army Scalpel of a player who can take handoffs, catch passes, and return punts and kicks, each time a threat to make a huge yardage gain.
Ervin is a great fit for the Seahawks on many levels. He's a unique big-play weapon, a much-needed third-down pass-catching back, and a possible slot receiver next to Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, which would give opposing secondaries fits. He can also take over some of Lockett's kick and punt return duties, and despite his smaller stature he should be able to handle primary running back duties as needed.
Combine summary: 4.41-second 40 (1.56 10-yard split), 4.34 short shuttle, 7.03 3-cone, 17 bench press reps @ 225 lbs, 39" vertical jump, 10'10" broad jump
[Link to Draft Breakdown film on Ervin]
Round 4, Pick 104. Travis Feeney, OLB, Washington
Feeney was a do-it-all linebacker during his four-year stint with the Huskies, showing good coverage skills (4 INTs, 11 passes defensed), excellent tackling (248 total, 33.5 for loss), pass-rushing acumen (15.5 sacks, 8 in 2015), and the ability to force fumbles (3 in 2015).
In the Seahawks defensive scheme, Feeney projects as a WILL (weakside) linebacker, a critical component in the Bruce Irvin Replacement Project, though he should be able to play some strong safety and rush the passer on certain downs.
After dramatically increasing his draft stock with his 2015 campaign, four shoulder surgeries and a hernia operation have kept it lower than it would otherwise be. The early 4th round (thanks San Fran!) seems like an ideal spot to take Feeney.
[Link to Draft Breakdown film on Feeney]
Round 4, Pick 124. Graham Glasgow, G/C, Michigan
It was tempting to take another defensive lineman or linebacker in this spot—or perhaps the best wide receiver who might be available in this range—but I decided on Glasgow, a very tall and reasonably athletic center in the Max Unger mold. Though Glasgow is primarily a center (13 starts there in 2015), he has experience playing both guard positions as well, so the added flexibility is appealing.
In the film (and three complete 2015 Michigan games) I watched, Glasgow played with very good strength, drive, and anchor. I didn't see him getting beaten inside much, and when the assignment called for finding blocks on the second level, he did so with purpose. He supposedly excelled at the Shrine Game practices earlier this year, and then played at the Senior Bowl.
We want an intelligent fellow manning the center position, and Glasgow fits the bill—he made the Academic All-Big Ten each of the last three years, and earned an athletic academic achievement award in 2013. He's also an economics major who's currently in graduate school.
Unfortunately, Glasgow hasn't always acted in an intelligent manner. He might be ranked higher as a prospect if it weren't for off-the-field issues, which are alcohol-related—he was arrested for a DUI in early 2014, and then had his probation extended for an alcohol-related violation. He seems to have turned things around, however, under the fatherly guidance of Jim Harbaugh.
[Link to Draft Breakdown film on Glasgow]
Round 5, Pick 141. James Bradberry, CB, Samford
The Seahawks like to take corners in this range, so why break the tradition? At the NFL Scouting Combine, Bradberry tested behind only Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves among corners. He has the athleticism to go with the length that Seattle desires in an outside cornerback—Bradberry is almost 6'1" and has incredibly long arms (33.4") for his size.
The available film on Bradberry is limited, but he does show flashes, and he reportedly looked very good in Senior Bowl practices. He started 45 games over 4 seasons at Samford, and wound up with notable career totals: 128 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 8 interceptions (2 each year), and 27 passes broken up.
Round 5, Pick 171. Beau Sandland, TE, Montana State
A Southern California native, Sandland was the top-rated junior college tight end in 2012, then transferred to Miami (FL) where he saw limited playing time. He moved cross-country to Montana State, where he redshirted in 2014 before enjoying an excellent 2015 campaign in which he caught 37 passes for 632 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Sandland tested as the third-most athletic tight end in this draft. He shows the quickness and suddenness to get open and pick up yards after the catch, and has experience run-blocking.
With Jimmy Graham's return questionable and a lack of depth at the tight end position, Sandland makes sense at this spot. I considered taking a wide receiver here, but plenty of good ones will be available in the undrafted pool.
Round 6, Pick 215. Kentrell Brice, S, Louisiana Tech
Brice would have placed fifth in his position group at the combine had he been invited—no safety there had a better vertical jump or broad jump, only one had a faster time in the 40-yard dash, and only one did more reps on the bench press. He doesn't rank higher among his peers due to a mediocre short shuttle and a curiously slow three-cone, neither of which is that big of a deal.
To go with Brice's exceptional athleticism, excellent tackling, fearlessness, and hard-hitting play was very good production across the past two seasons: 111 solo tackles (146 total), 7 tackles for loss, 5 sacks (4 in 2014), 3 interceptions, 6 QB hurries, 13 passes broken up, 16 passes defensed, 4 forced fumbles. He takes on ball carriers, receivers, and quarterbacks with equal aplomb.
Though Brice was primarily a strong safety in college, with his traits he should be able to play some free safety and slot corner in the NFL, and also provide special teams value.
Round 7, Pick 225. Justin Zimmer, DT, Ferris State
First mentioned by Tony Pauline on his insightful blog and then discussed in greater detail by Rob Staton, Zimmer is a freakishly athletic and strong defensive lineman who nearly benched a cumulative 10,000 pounds (44 reps x 225 lbs) at his regional combine. He's listed as as the top pSPARQ defensive lineman prospect.
Zimmer amassed remarkable career statistics, even taking into account his playing at a small program: 216 total tackles (81 in 2015), 48.5 tackles for loss (26 in 2015), 14 passes defensed (5 in 2015), 26 sacks (13 in 2015), 9 forced fumbles, 3 blocked punts/kicks.
The cherry on top of Zimmer's impressive collegiate career is that he was a three-time Academic All-American, so he's got brains as well as brawn. He seems like a candidate for a DL-to-OL conversion project.
Round 7, Pick 247. Tyrone Holmes, LB, Montana
Holmes, who racked up 18 sacks his senior campaign (tops in the FCS), had single-game totals of 4, 3, and 3. In four seasons Holmes accrued 34.5 sacks, 214 total tackles, 42 tackles for loss, and 5 forced fumbles. At his pro day he excelled in every category, including an absurd 37 1/2" vertical jump, a 4.6-second 40, and 28 reps at 225 lbs on the bench press.
And now for a dozen priority free agent guys, most of whom the Hawks will undoubtedly sign:
Jonathan Woodard, DE, Central Arkansas
Woodard, who led the Southland Conference in sacks and tackles for loss in 2014, has the length and explosiveness that the Seahawks like. He's quick, instinctive, and relentless in pursuit, with impressive career statistics: 174 total tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 30.5 sacks, 2 blocked kicks, 1 interception. Woodard is almost identical in size to Michael Bennett and should provide similar versatility. He should have been invited to the combine, but got his chance to show off at his pro day.
DeMarcus Hodge, DT, Arkansas
Hodge is a short, squat, massive, athletic interior defensive lineman with a low center of gravity and great strength. Based on the film I've watched Hodge has decent explosiveness off the line, though I thought it would be better considering his very good test numbers. He anticipates the snap count well, gets a good initial step, has an active motor, and shows good pursuit.
Will Ratelle, LB/FB, North Dakota
Ratelle became a full-time starter his junior season (2014). In 23 starts over the last two seasons, he put up excellent numbers: 124 solo tackles (216 total), 18 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 9 QB hurries, 3 passes broken up, and 1 INT. In 2015 versus North Dakota State (and Carson Wentz), Ratelle had 11 tackles and one sack against a very good offensive line.
In college he was middle linebacker and on special teams, though at his pro day he participated in fullback drills, which is what makes him that much more intriguing—the Seahawks are one of a dwindling number of NFL teams who regularly use a fullback and value the position.
Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin
Caputo had official visit with the Seahawks. He's a hard-hitting, tough-as-tungsten strong safety who could provide great value on special teams.
Tre Jones, CB, Mount Union
Jones finished his collegiate career with 18 interceptions, including 7 each in 2014 and 2015. He also broke up 27 passes over 2014-15. He started all 30 games over the last two seasons, and won the Division III title in 2015 with Mount Union going undefeated. Jones has a very athletic profile and plays with great instincts and speed.
Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan
Time to recruit and develop a long-term solution at backup QB. Under the gentle tutelage of Jim Harbaugh, Rudock made great strides in 2015 and looked quite good in a few of the late-season Michigan games I watched, including one in which he embarrassed Vernon Hargreaves on a couple of passes. He has an accurate arm (64% completion rate to go with 20 TD and 9 INT in 2015), good quickness and running ability (192 career rushes for 560 yards, 12 TD), and played in a pro-style offense. It's possible he'll be drafted, but I don't think that would happen until round 7.
Spencer Pulley, C, Vanderbilt
Pulley tested as one of the most athletic centers in this draft, with very good explosive traits: 28.5" vertical jump, 9'4" broad jump, 28 reps at 225 lbs on the bench press. In the limited film I watched he looked quick and solid, and would be a low-risk pick-up as an undrafted free agent center.
Vi Teofilo, OG, Arizona State
Teofilo, who came one bench press rep shy of Justin Zimmer's 44, is a hulking guard who also jumps like the dickens—a 9'8" broad jump ranks near the top of all offensive linemen, and is a good indicator of his explosiveness.
Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan
The freakishly athletic Jackson nearly tested off the charts, so it's probably time to find some newer and better charts. At his pro day, Jackson ran a 4.35-second 40 (1.52 split), had a 6.82 3-cone, a 41" vertical jump, and a 11'1" broad jump. He looks on film as you'd expect—blazing quickness and cuts that overwhelmed inferior competition. I was tempted to include him as a round 7 pick, and I sure hope the Seahawks consider him in the UFA pool if he falls into it.
Dez Stewart, WR, Ohio Dominican
One of a handful of receivers who had an official visit with the Seahawks, Stewart was a big-time receiver at a small-time school. On film he looks like a wolf playing against pugs. He has all the athletic traits desired for the position (4.43 40, 36" vertical, 10'2" broad jump) and good hands, but he ran very simple routes because he didn't need to do any more than that. Makes perfect sense as an undrafted signing.
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
North is a tall, long, fast, underachieving receiver with good hands and a concerning injury history. If he's healthy and dedicated to the craft, he could have tremendous upside.
Hakeem Valles, TE, Monmouth
Valles, who had a private workout with the Seahawks this month, accrued 40 receptions, 491 yards, and 3 TD after converting from WR to TE for the 2014 season. He was named team captain for the 2015 football season, plays with assertiveness, excellent speed (faster than any TE tested at the combine), and seems to have very good hands.