What a weekend.
The Seahawks picked ten times. They traded back once and moved up twice. Clearly, time will tell whether this class produces stars -- even starters -- but my overall impression of the haul is overwhelmingly positive.
Let's go through it one-by-one.
Seattle's Draft Class:
Round 1, Pick 31 (31): Germain Ifedi, OL Texas A&M
Seattle traded out of the 26 spot and picked up an extra 3rd round pick before selecting Texas A&M's Germain Ifedi, who had been rumored to be a Seahawks target for weeks. Considering he appeared to be their target in Round 1 regardless (though they did apparently consider Jarran Reed), picking up that 3rd rounder for that short move-back makes this a pretty good value. It sounds like the Seahawks consider Ifedi to be a "cornerstone" for them at tackle, eventually, but for the short-term, he'll get his start at the right guard spot. I think this makes tons of sense.
Generally speaking playing on the edge is considered much more difficult, so starting him out inside, in more of a phone booth, seems like a sound strategy. He's experienced there -- has good tape from there -- and that allows Seattle to install a much more experienced guy at right tackle in J'Marcus Webb. Now, the jury's definitely out on Webb, but I feel a little more comfortable starting a veteran out at that spot than I would about a rookie like Ifedi.
The main knocks on Ifedi are technique related -- and that implies that hopefully these issues are correctable with proper coaching. He leans, and falls off of blocks, and still has to adapt from playing in A&M's offense to doing what Seattle will ask him to do. In the Aggies' offense, in his pass sets he was asked to retreat and "catch" pass rushers on the outside, whereas in Seattle, things will be more straight forward (or lateral), where he'll be initiating contact. It's completely different, so it's somewhat difficult to project how he'll look. But, the bottom line here is that Ifedi has all the tools the Seahawks look for and it was the biggest position of need. I'll take it.
He's huge -- 6'5, 325 -- with vines for arms and meat hooks for hands. He's athletic. He'll need to adapt and improve, but he's not a developmental project. He's got three years of starting experience in the SEC. I liked the Ifedi pick -- nothing too sexy, and it wasn't one that made me get out of my chair to cheer -- but I think he should come in and start at right guard from day one.
Round 2, Pick 18 (49): Jarran Reed, DL Alabama
Truth be told, I didn't study Jarran Reed super closely pre-draft because I thought he was going to go in the 1st round and didn't think the Seahawks would go in that direction that early. Getting Reed in the second has been roundly recognized as a huge steal, and he looks like the type of guy that can anchor the middle of the defensive line for years.
He's absurdly strong (32-inch thighs... each!), possesses an anchor and ballast that you rarely see, and sounds like he was the alpha dog on a national championship team full of future NFL players at Alabama. When Richard Sherman says "we got some dogs" in reference to the Seahawks' defense, Reed seems like a dude that will fit in from the jump. It's likely he starts from day one, and it's going to be a lot of fun seeing Reed next to another unmovable force in Ahtyba Rubin. That's huge -- if Reed and Rubin are eating up blocks and waylay the offensive line from getting downfield, that means that Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, and Kam Chancellor are free to flow upfield and attack ball carriers. Big hits await.
The Seahawks value run defense maybe more than any other team -- it's where it all starts for Pete Carroll -- so this looks like a fantastic pick. I loved it immediately. John Schneider called him the best run defending interior lineman in the draft.
Round 3, Pick 27 (90): C.J. Prosise, RB Notre Dame
I really, really liked Prosise pre-draft, but my impression was that he didn't seem particularly "Seahawky" as a bell-cow type -- he isn't a physical mauler, he had some fumbling issues, and he's inexperienced. But, when Seattle took him and explained that they see him as a 3rd down back, that made a ton of sense to me. In theory, he'll replace Fred Jackson on the Seahawks' roster, coming in on third down and frequently splitting outside as Seattle goes with an empty backfield. He's an adept route-runner, especially for a running back -- and is extremely athletic. He's a savvy runner, has that home-run potential, and really opens up some options for the Seahawks in what they can do, personnel-wise and formation-wise. It will be fun to see how he's used.
Overall, I loved this pick. He's an exciting, creative, and instinctive runner with a lot of upside as a receiver out of the backfield.
Round 3, Pick 31 (94): Nick Vannett, TE Ohio State
I actually listed Nick Vannett as one of the possible "surprise 1st rounders" prior to the draft, sending him to Pittsburgh as Heath Miller's long-term replacement, and while it was an extremely unlikely scenario (and obviously it didn't happen), I think Vennett has the physical tools that could've warranted that kind of reach.
He's got prototypical size at 6'6, 265, with huge hands and great body control. He's a smooth athlete -- not explosive by any means, but he can move and adjust to the ball, and if you listen to the Seahawks' eval on him, has potential as an very strong in-line blocker. Most important, he's the type of guy that you can use in multiple personnel groupings as a true Y-tight end, on the line, blocking defensive ends.
This is the Zach Miller pick for the Seahawks -- a guy they've been trying to replace for a few years now -- and while he probably will take a year or two to fully work into the offense as an in-line blocker, I really like the upside there. Getting a tight end that can help in pass pro while still presenting a nice target downfield could be enormous for Russell Wilson.
Round 3, Pick 35 (97) (Comp pick): Rees Odhiambo, OL Boise State
If you were listening to draft coverage on Sports Radio KJR during the draft, you would've heard Hugh Millen absolutely gushing about Odhiambo's feet in pass pro. As he related, there are three things that coaches look for in offensive linemen when making their evaluations: Feet, feet, and feet. Everyone at this level is big and strong, but in order to have success in this league, you have to be able to move and adjust to what your explosively athletic opponent is doing. Millen was ecstatic about what he saw from Odhiambo on tape. That was very encouraging.
Of course, the next question you might ask is this: If he has such great feet, why was he still there in the 3rd round? Well, among (I'm sure) a few other things, he was injured a lot in college. Those injuries really set him back and dropped his stock, and as John Schneider explained, they took him out of the top-45 range that he'd likely had been looking at if he'd been able to stay healthy.
Like a lot of the Seahawks picks this year, he has great size and solid athleticism, and projects initially at left guard. It will be fun to see if he can push Justin Britt, Mark Glowinski, and Kristjan Sokoki at that spot this season.
Lance Zierlein's scouting report on his strengths tells a good story:
Looks great on the hoof with muscle and thickness throughout his frame. Flexible hips and knees and should be able to drop his pad level as guard in the pros. Uses wide, well-balanced base and possesses above-average body control. Tough, technique-driven approach. Uses feet to close distance with target rather than reaching, leaning and panicking. Able to maintain power when moving laterally. Has athleticism and body control to be effective pulling guard and zone scheme fit as right tackle or guard. Keeps eyes up and on his target at all times. Can mirror and punch with inside hands. Upper body strength and hip snap to turn opponent as base blocker. Has heavy hands and makes defenders feel it when he lands.
I've found myself to be more intrigued with this pick than maybe any other this year.
Round 5, Pick 8 (147) (From Patriots): Quinton Jefferson, DL Maryland
I hadn't researched Jefferson prior to the draft so for me this was another in a long line of the "Jimmy Staten pick" for Seattle in this area, where you have no idea who the hell they're taking. Nonetheless, sounds like Jefferson is a gap-shooting interior lineman in the mold of Michael Bennett and that's the role the Seahawks see him in. I haven't gotten too worked up about this pick one way or another but am definitely going to be intrigued to see how he looks in the preseason.
Round 5, Pick 34 (171) (Comp pick): Alex Collins, RB Arkansas
This pick makes sense for Seattle too -- he's a high-volume producer that went for over 1,000 yards three straight seasons in the SEC, and is known to be a physical, tough, between the tackles runner. The thing that stands out to me when watching his tape is how quick his feet are. John Schneider referred to him as a short-stepper (a term he also used for Thomas Rawls last year), and when you watch him run, it's not terribly surprising that one of his off-field hobbies is Irish folk dancing.
The way he eludes the first defender in the backfield is reminiscent of Marshawn Lynch, and then the rest of the run you can see how he makes short choppy steps, which allows him to cut and juke and charge forward for more yards. Importantly, he keeps a solid forward lean the entire time. Look at him just truck that final defender.
We'll see how it all shakes out, but this is a fun pick and I'm guessing he'll be a rotational backup for Rawls this year.
Round 6, Pick 40 (215) (Comp pick): Joey Hunt, C TCU
I love this pick. He's an undersized dude by traditional standards but he's not much smaller than Patrick Lewis, and he's well known to be a very good pass protector. The Seahawks need to give Russell Wilson a solid pocket from which to operate, and Hunt has the upside as a starter in this system.
I'm not putting too much on a rookie 6th rounder right out of the gate, but I do think he could end up as a starter in a year or two. That's exciting.
Round 7, Pick 4 (243) (From Patriots): Kenny Lawler, WR Cal
It's crowded at the receiver position for the Seahawks but this dude is a touchdown machine. He has huge, reliable hands -- maybe the best in the draft, per John Schneider -- and amazing body control to contort and adjust to passes in the air. Talking with Derek Stephens, he threw out a Brandon Lloyd comp, which I think is pretty damn interesting. Both players ran slow in pre-draft testing (4.6's), but both have an innate knack for circus catches and both have an ability to box out defenders to go up and get jump balls. "His catching range is stupid," per John Schneider.
We'll see how Lawler does. Like Hunt, I'm not trying to put too much on a 7th round pick, but I think he has some real potential to make the roster.
Round 7, Pick 26 (247): Zac Brooks, RB Clemson
Physical freak of nature that ran in the 4.3's and showed some talent as a runner. For whatever reason, didn't get much action in college so he has a lot of tread left on the tires. I am not expecting too much but he'll be a fun guy to watch in the preseason. Could give Christine Michael a run for his money.
The Seahawks haven't officially announced their rookie free agent signings but as soon as that happens, I'll take a closer look.