If this is your first time reading one of my mock drafts, please read the disclaimers first:
These mock drafts are not intended as a prediction of what will happen, they are merely a vehicle to look at different players that the front office may be looking at. With that, I will probably change who I draft just about every time, just to take a little bit closer look at more players at different levels of the draft at different positions. I will also trade out of the 1st every time I publish one of these. There are plenty of other places where you can learn about the first round and even the top of the second, here we want to look at all the other guys. In the end, we may find some draft “crushes” and know more names throughout the draft.
Big Board Order
I use different big board just about every time. None of them are perfect and I realize that none of them match. Some guys will go higher and some guys will go lower. The point is that we take a look at lots of guys, so don’t get too hung up on where someone is drafted.
I use fansided to simulate the drafts. I paid for the premium edition, so it lets me do trades. I realize that many trades aren’t realistic, but based on my wish to look at more possible players, I don’t care either.
We all know some of the basic needs that we have, but some basic rules are also in play with this front office. Since PC/JS have been here they have used 14 1st and 2nd round picks. Only 5 have been used on non-lineman: 2 WR, 1 RB, 1 FS and 1 ILB. Only 1 pick has been used in the 1st round on a non-lineman and that was Earl Thomas. Every time you see them saying they will grab a short-armed CB or some RB, remember, that would completely break with the mold. More likely is they do two things: they trade back as much as possible to maximize 2nd and 3rd round opportunities and they also lean towards four-year starters early on.
I am not a scout, nor do I pretend to be. I will give my thought process on drafting a guy, but will link and copy to other scouts and give you what they think of him, which is probably much higher quality than what you would get from me.
Here is my draft for today:
Seattle sends picks 18, 168 to Atlanta for pick 26, 90
Seattle sends pick 26 to Indianapolis for picks 36, 104
36: R2P4 LB LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, BOISE STATE
90: R3P26 TE HAYDEN HURST, SOUTH CAROLINA
104: R4P4 DL TIM SETTLE, VIRGINIA TECH
120: R4P20 S JESSIE BATES III, WAKE FOREST
141: R5P4 G COLBY GOSSETT, APPALACHIAN STATE
146: R5P9 CB JORDAN THOMAS, OKLAHOMA
156: R5P19 RB JUSTIN JACKSON, NORTHWESTERN
226: R7P8 LB MATTHEW THOMAS, FLORIDA STATE
248: R7P30 RB DARREL WILLIAMS, LSU
Seahawks at pick 36 (Round 2, from Ind) select: EDGE LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, BOISE STATE
Measurements: 6-4 256, DE/leo, 33.85” arms
Testing: 4.65 40, 20 reps, 39.5” vert, 124” broad, 6.88 3-cone, 4.15 short shuttle
One of the edge rushers will make it to this area with all the QBs getting over drafted.
IN OUR VIEW
Frankly, if there was a “Breakout Player of the Year” award in college football, Vander Esch would have won it in 2017. Sure, there is risk involved whenever investing an early round selection in a player with just one dominant season, especially given the questionable competition Vander Esch faced in the Mountain West. The tape doesn’t lie, though. Vander Esch offers a prototypical blend of size, strength and athleticism for linebacker and is an instinctive, physical player with the range and reliable open-field tackling ability to warrant at least top 50 consideration and perhaps even a first round pick.
Vander Esch is a loose-hipped, instinctive linebacker who played in 2017 like he had a GPS tracker on the football. His production totals against both the run and pass are rare for being a first-year starter and with a frame that is primed for more muscle, his NFL ceiling is high. Vander Esch might benefit from a reduced role his rookie season while he improves his play strength and becomes more skilled at taking on blocks. He’s an every-down linebacker with very good starting potential and the talent to fill up a stat sheet.
Seahawks pick at 90 (Round 3, from Atl): TE HAYDEN HURST, SOUTH CAROLINA
Measurements: 6-4 250, 32” arms
Testing: 4.67 40, 31.5” vert, 120” broad, 4.37 short shuttle
Solid all around TE.
Looks the part of an NFL tight end with a naturally large frame, including broad shoulders, long arms and a tapered build with good overall weight distribution. Perhaps Hurst’s best attribute is his smooth acceleration off the ball. He shows impressive suddenness off the snap, quickly getting into his routes and showing good burst laterally out of his breaks to create separation, as well as the breakaway speed to be a legitimate seam-buster. Despite his relatively limited experience, Hurst shows natural receiving skills, consistently catching passes with his hands extended away from his body and looking the ball all the way in. He can extend and pluck outside of his frame, showing a large catch radius that extends low to the ground as well as high above his head. Hurst is an alert and willing blocker who showed improved strength and grit in 2017 with the work ethic to realistically expect improvement with more experience. He was voted a team captain in both 2016 and 2017. -- Rob Rang 1/2/2018
Hurst’s initial opportunity at athletic stardom came up short in baseball, but he has his second shot and plays like every down could be his last. His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He’s sure-handed and could become a young quarterback’s safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end.
Seahawks select at 104 (Round 4, from Ind): DT TIM SETTLE, VIRGINIA TECH
Measurements: 6-3 335
Testing: 5.37 40, 23.5” vert, 96” broad, 7.95 3cone, 4.83 short shuttle
A 1-tech who has shown some explosiveness in pass rush.
Great short area quickness, and a very explosive first step, especially for his size. Has a refined and dangerous swim move that he alternates nicely with a downright angry bull rush. Does a consistent job of penetrating and getting upfield to collapse the pocket and affect the run, where he has a knack for locating ball-carriers. Strong, violent initial punch that stuns blockers and allows him to take control early. When rushing the pass, fires out low and upward, getting good leverage against offensive linemen. Moves incredibly well for a 335-pound guy, very athletic and sudden. Nimble enough to avoid falling and keep his feet against cut blocks. Very naturally strong with a lot of weight on a frame that doesn’t appear to be maxed out. Young and has a lot of room to grow and mature after only one season as a full-time starter. — Hunter Ansley 1/23/2018
Settle has rare gifts for a big man with good mass, play strength, quickness, and agility. His substantial jump in production in 2017 was due to weight loss and additional conditioning that allowed him to play more snaps and play faster. He’s a disruptive, versatile defensive lineman who offers enough pass rush potential to warrant reps on passing downs. Settle is a natural 4-3 fit but can play in a 3-4 as well. He has the potential to become a very good starter with a Pro Bowl ceiling if he controls his weight and maintains his conditioning.
Seahawks select at 120 (Round 4): S JESSIE BATES III, WAKE FOREST
Measurements: 6-1 200, 31.5” arms, 9.75” hand
Testing: 4.5 40, 117” Broad, 35.5” Vert, 6.78 3 cone, 4.36 short shu
ET needs a backup and another returner would be nice.
Instinctive and trusts what he sees. Reads the eyes of the quarterback and sniffs out routes. Click-and-close quickness with a knack for arriving at the right time. Fluid movement skills to make proper adjustments from shadow position. Enough play speed to chase down ballcarriers from behind. Fearless as a downhill defender, taking proper run angles. Doesn’t bypasses tackle attempts like most defenders his size. Low tackler and gets his guy on the ground. Collected six interceptions the past two seasons with 95 interception return yards, averaging 15.8 yards per return with a pair of touchdowns (6/95/2). Experience as a punt returner, averaging 7.9 yards per return (22/173/0). Credits his preparation and film study for his play-making on game day. Takes a big brother approach with younger players and wants to be a future coach. – Dane Brugler 1/14/2018
Versatile safety option with the athletic ability to handle man coverage responsibilities in space and the instincts and ball skills to post ball production in zone coverage. Bates is more than willing as a hitter, but can get himself in trouble as an open-field tackler due to inconsistent pursuit angles and technique. Bates plays with energy and aggressiveness and is likely to fill a stat sheet with production thanks to his versatility and play traits. He should contribute early on defense and special teams and has a chance to become a good NFL starter.
Seahawks select at 141 (Round 5): OG COLBY GOSSETT, APPALACHIAN STATE
Measurements: 6-5 315
Testing: 5.2 40, 32 reps, 25” vert, 103” broad
Massively powerful RG.
Gossett sports a powerful, well distributed frame with broad shoulders, thick limbs and a solid base. He shows good initial quickness off the snap, creating a surge at the point of attack with powerful hands and good leg drive. His experience shows when blocking at the second level, demonstrating very good anticipation and an efficient path to meeting linebackers, latching on to them with strong hands and the core flexibility, power and balance to turn and seal them away from the ball-carrier. Gossett shows very good coordination between his hands and feet in pass protection, shooting his hands from his hips to provide a powerful initial punch to opponents and shuffling his feet to mirror. He possesses the core strength and flexibility to handle bull rushers, playing with his knees bent and butt down. He is a very physical, competitive player who looks to knock opponents to the turf when he senses them off-balance. -- Rob Rang 1/11/2018
Started in 46 straight contests. Possesses NFL-ready frame with thick calves and a broad waist. Comes of the ball with adequate quickness. Has mass and strength to create some movement and secure his down blocks. Able to sit down and play with enough anchor against bull-rushing defensive tackles.
Seahawks select at 141 (Round 5): CB JORDAN THOMAS, OKLAHOMA
Measurements: 6-0 186, 32” arms
Testing: 4.64 40, 4 reps, 38” vert, 124” broad, 6.28 3 cone, 3.94 short shuttle, 10.85 long shuttle
Exceptionally quick, not fast, CB who looks to slid into the slot.
Decent size with a smooth backpedal. 2016 tape was much better and showed a cornerback with patience when operating outside the numbers. Ball skills are impressive. Uses every inch of his arm length when challenging catches. Reads receivers eyes and times his leaps accordingly. Springy leaper who can match hands at the catch point. Plus hand-eye coordination. Has instincts to work with. Has enough short-area quickness and length to be disruptive when challenging throws from off coverage. Recognizes double moves and vertical challenges. Reactive and aware at attacking wide receiver screens.
Seahawks select at 156(Round 5): RB JUSTIN JACKSON, NORTHWESTERN
Measurements: 5-11 193
Testing: 4.52 40, 38.5” vert, 122” Broad, 6.81 3 cone, 4.07” short shuttle, 11.06” long shuttle
A little smaller, but a durable RB.
Jackson’s four years as a starter show with his instincts and anticipation of holes, darting to and through the line of scrimmage. Like a frog leaping from a lily pad, Jackson is consistently able to elude trouble with sharp lateral jump-cuts and sudden starts and stops, leaving defenders off-balance. He is not a traditionally powerful runner but keeps his legs churning through contact and his body spinning, ducking, slipping to squirm his way forward to maximize every attempt, showing impressive determination and awareness of the line to gain, earning the respect of teammates and opponents, alike. He possesses a well-developed upper body and has shown incredible durability over his career, never missing a game due at Northwestern. -- Rob Rang 1/11/2018
Jackson is a productive, durable runner with the foot quickness and agility to make defenders miss on all levels of the field, but has a thin frame that could turn some teams off. While Jackson carried a heavy workload in college, he’s unlikely to find that opportunity in the pros. Jackson’s elusiveness gives him a shot at a backup role, but he will need to improve as a third-down option.
Seahawks select at 226 (Round 7): LB MATTHEW THOMAS, FLORIDA STATE
Measurements: 6-3 232, 32” ARMS
Testing: 4.58 40, 41” vert, 131” broad, 6.85 3 cone, 4.28 short shuttle
Freak athlete who may only be a ST, but will do it fast.
Packaged with an NFL starter-kit featuring broad shoulders, long arms and a tapered, athletic frame with room for additional muscle mass without a significant loss of quickness. Plays with a ferocious see-the-ball, get-the-ball mentality, trusting his eyes and attacking the ball, especially the line of scrimmage in run support. Physical tackler, who lowers his shoulder into opponents and accelerates through contact generating big collisions. Good length and strength to lasso runners seemingly outside of his range, latching on and ripping at the ball as he drags them down... Played some defensive end in high school but moves more like a big safety, showing balance and agility when dropping back as well as a smooth turning motion and very good acceleration to handle coverage duties as well as the speed to beat backs to the edge. Effective blitzer despite his relatively light frame, showing body control and a powerful punch to disengage from blockers... Excellent athlete who is expected to test well and may just be scratching the surface of his potential, playing his best ball in 2016-17... -- Rob Rang 2/3/2018
Long-limbed with a frame that might be able to pack on more muscle. Has explosive athletic ability with plus chase speed and range. Has access to a second gear that can close out running backs before they get the corner turned and get up the field. Flashes disruptive quality when he triggers downhill into a gap on zone plays. Good reactive athleticism with talent to recover and get in on a play. Possesses smooth hips and feet and can mirror opponents when asked to cover in man. Can be a boomer hitter in the open field. Does a decent job of sticking his chest in on ball carriers when tackling them on an angle.
Seahawks select at pick 248 (Round 7): RB DARREL WILLIAMS, LSU
Measurements: 6-1 229
Testing: 4.72 40, 22 reps, 32” vert, 109” broad, 4.21 short shuttle
Not flashy, but a solid 3rd down short yardage back who literally never fumbles.
Built for the NFL with a brawny physique. Keeps his shoulders square with the line of scrimmage. Trusts his eyes and presses the hole with widescreen vision, locating second-level defenders. Lowers his pads at contact to push forward with run power. Coordinated feet and enough shake to make sharp cuts in the open field. Reliable hands and elastic body control as a pass-catcher. Faces up with rushers and holds his ground in pass protection. Accounted for six offensive plays of 35+ yards in 2017 (Guice had only two with 87 more offensive touches). Reliable toting the rock with only one career fumble, which happened in 2014 and he recovered it. Turned heads as a senior, accounting for 1,151 yards of total offense, which was more than his career total yards (962) entering the 2017 season. – Dane Brugler 2/2/2018
Physical, well-built running back who opened the eyes of NFL scouts with a strong season as a replacement for, and complimentary piece to Derrius Guice. Williams has NFL size and toughness and his ability to handle short-yardage carries as well as passes out of the backfield do nothing but increase his chances of making a roster.