The 2017 NFL Draft is upon us. Seattle is set to pick at #26, but knowing the history of John Schneider, it’s very possible they trade down either out of the first-round or towards #31 like last season. We’ve already seen rumors that Atlanta is looking to swap picks with the Seahawks, and it may come to fruition tonight.
I’ve been pretty quiet as far as writing anything related to the Seahawks’ plans over the past several weeks, so with the draft just hours away, these are the thoughts and predictions that have been swirling in my head.
- If Seattle picks an offensive lineman first, we can stop the “Carroll and Schneider don’t value the line” talk. Off the top of my head, Cam Robinson, Ryan Ramczyk, Garrett Bolles, and Forrest Lamp have all been projected to go to the Seahawks. I’m partial to Lamp because simply put, I love Lamp. If Seattle does go with OL in round 1, it’ll be the fourth time they’ve done so in seven years under Pete Carroll and John Schneider. There’s a real chance that 60% of the Seahawks starting o-line in week 1 will consist of Seattle draft picks taken no later than the second round. There’s been plenty to be critical of regarding the performance and overall quality of the offensive line over the past several years, but I don’t think it’s for lack of trying. Identifying high-level talent and/or developing these players into a competent, cohesive unit is a different story altogether...
- There’s no need to draft a running back. Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls, Alex Collins, Troymaine Pope. Those are Seattle’s five running backs on the roster. Admittedly, had the Seahawks not signed Lacy, I’d be having second thoughts about using one of the mid-round choices on someone like D’Onta Foreman or Semaje Perine. I’m projecting that Pope ends up on the practice squad again, but that’s really no big deal. While the running back class is loaded with talent, I reckon that Seattle is content with what they have at this position.
- The Seahawks will boost their depth at wide receiver. This has been a contentious debate on Field Gulls before, mostly spurred by the Brandin Cooks trade discussions when the Saints put him on the market. I do believe the Seahawks are going to use one of their third-round picks on a WR. Please keep in mind that Jermaine Kearse may be on thin ice — the interest in Kamar Aiken is one of those indicators — and Paul Richardson’s contract is up after this season. I’m partial to Chris Godwin from Penn State but he’s more than likely going to be snapped up before round 3, and I’d be stunned if the Seahawks spent a first or a second on a position that’s not of considerable need. Amara Darboh from Michigan might be available on Saturday, and he might be worth a look.
- Prepare for the end of the Kam Chancellor era. I do not see Kam Chancellor remaining a Seattle Seahawk after the 2018 Super Bowl (at which point the becomes a free agent). It’s not so much age (30 next April) as it is the salary cap situation ($8 million+ this year) and the general belief that Seattle is trying to shake up its defense — in other words, get younger and cheaper — without blowing the whole thing up. Obi Melifonwu has drawn considerable interest from the Seahawks front office, and he made Pete Carroll hot and bothered by his 40 time. He’s a physical freak and just has a Seahawks feel to him. Add that to the signing of the versatile Bradley McDougald and I believe that the intention is to look for Kam’s replacement now rather than later. With that said, I’m not terribly optimistic that Seattle will get, say, Bolles and Melifonwu with their first two picks. We’ll see.
- I’m all-in on the Kevin King bandwagon. If you put me on the spot and asked me one player I’d want the Seahawks to draft at #26, it’s Kevin King. Some of it is homerism because King was a star at the University of Washington, but he’s destined to be a Seahawk. The 6’3” frame, the 32” arms, the ball skills, I absolutely want him on the team. I’m not against Ahkello Witherspoon out of Colorado or Tre’Davious White from LSU, but I’ll take King over every single one of them. Even if DeShawn Shead didn’t suffer his knee injury against Atlanta, I’d want King. Seattle has been struggling to force turnovers and King projects to have much higher upside than any other CB2 on the Seahawks roster.
- Competition at kicker? Pete and John love competition. The only other kicker on Seattle’s roster apart from Blair Walsh is John Lunsford, who has been cut by two other teams already. Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez went 7-of-9 on 50+ yard kicks last season and only missed four out of 73 attempts from 19-39 yards in his entire career. Methinks he might be the only kicker taken in the draft, and I’d not be a happy camper if they drafted one. But from the potential UDFA side, Alabama’s Adam Griffith is way too inaccurate from 40+ (10 of 18) for me to be interested, but Utah’s Andy Phillips hit 82.3% of his 102 FG attempts, but he hasn’t attempted a kick from longer than 47 yards away since his junior year. I expect Seattle to stay put with just Walsh and Lunsford.