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Seahawks big board: Looking at the first round options

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Who could be on Seattle’s radar with the #26 pick? Rob Staton takes a look

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are again: 2017 is the fourth time the Seattle Seahawks have had the #25 or #26 pick since 2010. Who’s on the radar at 26 this time?

The options have never been better.

Here are some of the possible targets done in a ‘big board’ style.

Out of reach?

  1. Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
  2. Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
  3. Forrest Lamp (G, Western Kentucky)
  4. Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida)
  5. Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)
  6. Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan)

Haason Reddick (LB Temple)

How good is he? Only Myles Garrett is a more explosive defensive front seven player in this class. His production (21.5 TFL's in 2016), character (former walk-on) and supreme athletic profile should secure a place in the top-15.

Range: Haason Reddick (Top-15)

Garett Bolles (T, Utah) & Forrest Lamp (G, Western Kentucky)

The NFL is desperate for good, athletic offensive linemen. There were only three truly explosive testers at the combine -- Bolles, Lamp and San Diego State's Nico Siragusa. The Seahawks would have to consider Bolles or Lamp if they fell to #26 but the chances appear to be remote.

Range: Garett Bolles (Top-10 — #20), Forrest Lamp (Top-20)

Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida)

He could be this years Keanu Neal. He's incredibly athletic and physical with a terrific temperament and attitude. Very few in the draft media expected Neal to go as early as he did (#17 overall). Davis could also go in that range. He could be the next Patrick Willis. That's how special he is.

Range: Jarrad Davis (#13-24)

Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)

Humphrey is a classic example of paralysis by analysis. He ticks every box -- physicality, size, length, athleticism, NFL bloodlines, character. And yet he has an issue tracking the ball. For some reason, this one flaw gets more attention than the multitude of positives. It's not improbable that some teams will view Humphrey as the best cornerback in the draft.

Range: Marlon Humphrey (Top-20)

Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan)

Peppers provides another example of a sloppy narrative. The draft media has focused on his one career interception. In reality, Peppers' role at Michigan was to defend the perimeter as a linebacker and prevent teams from stretching out run plays. It's difficult to make interceptions when you're constantly crashing the outside. His one pick is comparable to other top linebackers in 2016 like Reuben Foster (zero picks), Jarrad Davis (zero picks), Haason Reddick (one pick) and Zach Cunningham (zero picks). A better statistic to judge his 2016 performance is the 15 TFL's he recorded -- the same number as future #1 overall pick Myles Garrett.

Range: Jabrill Peppers (Top-22)

Could be there at #26

  1. Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut)
  2. Kevin King (CB, Washington)
  3. Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
  4. Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)

Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut)

There isn't anyone like Melifonwu in the NFL. And while the 'Buffalo' or 'big nickel' is quite common these days, Melifonwu could set a new standard for the position. Where else are you going to get a 6-4, 225lbs defender who runs a 4.40, has the short area agility to cover the slot (4.09 short shuttle) and the tackling form to defend the perimeter and provide run support? Melifonwu had the second most explosive combine performance ever and ran a 10.69 long shuttle that would've set a new record had he performed it in Indianapolis instead of his pro-day. That 4.09 short shuttle time, incidentally, was 0.01 seconds slower than Budda Baker's despite a 30lbs weight difference. When asked recently who he compares to, Melifonwu answered ‘I’m in a category of my own’. He’s right.

Plus, who can forget Pete Carroll’s reaction to Obi Melifonwu’s forty yard dash at the combine...

Range: Obi Melifonwu (#19-26)

Kevin King (CB, Washington)

If Melifonwu has the freakiest physical profile in this draft class, King is a close second. Since 2010, only four cornerbacks have run a sub-4.00 short shuttle and measured with 32 inch arms (Seattle’s apparent cut-off). King is easily the fastest of the four (3.89) ahead of DeAndre Elliott (3.94), Byron Jones (3.94) and Tye Smith (3.96). Gareon Conley, competing to be the third cornerback off the board, ran a 4.18. King also ran a 4.43 forty and jumped a 39.5 inch vertical. His tape was always highly underrated, possibly because he was written off as the guy who wasn't Sidney Jones. He has the physical profile to cover #1 receivers outside, the agility to work in the slot and the size to handle himself in run support.

Range: Kevin King (#14-26)

Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)

Jackson isn't any less of an athlete freak. He doesn't have the size of Melifonwu or King but he has a profile that almost took him to Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Jackson combines elite skills as a sprinter and long jumper with natural playmaking ability as a football player. He’s Percy Harvin on defense (without the hassle). Any time the ball's in his hands he's a threat to score. He has the potential to become one of the all-time great kick-returners. He plays the ball (16 passes defended in 2016, as many as Tre'Davious White and one more than Kevin King, plus five interceptions) and on offense he'll take a WR screen to the house from 70-yards given the opportunity. He's a gritty team captain who loves to tackle. He might not have the size but he more than makes up for it with talent, suddenness and attitude. He’s the ultimate playmaker.

Range: Adoree’ Jackson (#18-28)

Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)

Conley isn't a freak but he has a terrific understanding of positional coverage and possesses a strong physical profile. He ran a 4.44 at 6-0 and 195lbs, has the requisite arm length (33 inches) and had four interceptions in 2016. He has some technical flaws that will need fixing. For example, he didn't use his hands at Ohio State to jam or re-route. At the next level he can't afford to give up free releases and rely on recovery speed. His ability to be more physical and get a feel for routes will likely determine how successful he'll be. If you let a receiver at the next level make their cut or break untouched, they’ll get open. For this reason he might need a little time to reach his potential but he has a very high ceiling.

Range: Gareon Conley (#14-29)

Options if they trade down

  1. T.J. Watt (LB, Wisconsin)
  2. Tyus Bowser (LB, Houston)
  3. Budda Baker (S, Washington)
  4. Cordrea Tankersley (CB, Clemson)
  5. Quincy Wilson (CB, Houston)
  6. Jordan Willis (EDGE, Kansas State)

T.J. Watt (LB, Wisconsin & Tyus Bowser (LB, Houston)

How special are T.J. Watt and Tyus Bowser? Just compare their physical profiles to Khalil Mack and you'll get your answer. This piece highlights how closely they resemble the reigning NFL defensive MVP. Furthermore, Watt's short shuttle time (4.13) is comparable to the top cornerbacks in the draft despite the fact he weighs 252lbs. Both Watt and Bowser also ran an elite 1.5 10-yard split to go with an incredibly explosive workout at the combine. It might take a year or two for either player to fully realize their potential but there's no doubting how exciting both players are.

Range: T.J. Watt & Tyus Bowser (Top-45)

Budda Baker (S, Washington)

Baker doesn't have the freaky skill set of Melifonwu, Baker, or Jackson but his intensity and ability to make plays in a variety of ways is reminiscent of Tyrann Mathieu. That comes with an asterisk because Mathieu has superior ball skills. The comparison works because Baker plays above his size in coverage and versus the run, can handle himself in a variety of match-ups and will scream off the edge to make plays in the backfield. He won't be the biggest 'big nickel' but it's a role that suits his skill set.

Range: Budda Baker (Top-45)

Cordrea Tankersley (CB, Clemson)

Tankersley ran a 4.40 at the combine at 6-1 and 200lbs. He's a tenacious, instinctive cornerback with a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He undercuts routes to play the ball, uses his hands to feel the route and he's a reasonable tackler in run support. He was productive in 2016 with 16 passes defended in 2016, the same number as Kevin King and only one less than Adoree’ Jackson and Tre’Davious White. He had four interceptions — as many as Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley.

Range: Cordrea Tankersley (Top-40 — Late second round)

Quincy Wilson (CB, Florida)

Wilson didn't make any headlines at the combine with a 4.54 forty and a 32 inch vertical but his short shuttle time is very intriguing. He ran a 4.02 -- the second fastest among cornerbacks with 32 inch arms (second only to Kevin King). His time was considerably faster than Fabian Moreau (4.12), Gareon Conley (4.18) and Sidney Jones (4.28). Wilson isn't a physical freak but he has the size, attitude and confidence to succeed plus the short area quickness to handle quick slants and twitchy receivers.

Range: Quincy Wilson (Top-50)

Jordan Willis (EDGE, Kansas State)

Willis has some frustrating tape. There are times where you sit screaming at the TV, pleading with him to get off a block. The frustration comes because his physical profile is as good as it gets. He's the fourth most explosive DE/LB in this class behind only Myles Garrett, Haason Reddick and Solomon Thomas. Like Watt and Bowser, he ran a fantastic 1.5 split to go along with a 4.53 forty and a 39 inch vertical. In terms of potential, he could be a dynamic EDGE at the next level. Yet he's very much a straight-line rusher. He might be a little bit predictable but he has the type of physical upside the Seahawks like at defensive end or LEO.

Range: Jordan Willis (Top-50)

Rob Staton writes Seahawks Draft Blog — providing daily off-season coverage. You can also follow him on Twitter via @robstaton