The 2018 NFL Draft is just one day away, and Seattle Seahawks fans are eager to see what the team does with its first draft pick on Thursday. They’re in possession of pick #18 as a result of missing the playoffs, but do not have any more selections until the fourth round. It’s expected that Seattle will be doing some trades to stockpile picks like they usually do, but most mock drafts tend to just stick with the draft order instead of pulling off fantasy trades.
I figured now would be a good time to do a round-up of Seahawks mock draft selections from around the web, sticking specifically to the top draft choice. As you probably know, there are a ton of these so I won’t inundate you with 500 different takes, but I did go after the major sports hubs and draft “experts,” as well as local Seahawks columnists.
Seattle Times’ Larry Stone: Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech
The Seahawks live to confound the popular wisdom on draft day, but they have a huge need for a pass rusher and Edmunds fits the bill as an edge rusher. Just 19 but physically gifted, his potential is tremendous.
I admittedly know very little about Tremaine Edmunds, but he does turn 20 next week, so the thought of a literal teenager getting significant snaps on the Seahawks defense is not quite going to happen.
Associated Press: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Don’t you dare utter the world “rebuild” around GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. Not even in a whisper. Still, this roster needs some big-time hits in the draft. Maybe start with … [Josh Jackson]
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
They let Richard Sherman go, so they have a big hole on the corner. Jackson has a lot of the same qualities Sherman has.
Note: This is Prisco’s “what these teams should do” mock draft.
Yahoo Sports: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Richard Sherman’s departure makes cornerback an obvious need, and Jackson is a good fit here. A 6-foot-1 ballhawk, Jackson doesn’t have elite speed, but has the size and outstanding playmaking abilities to step in as a starter from Day 1.
CBS Sports’ Will Brinson: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Long, ball hawking cornerback who fits the bill for what the Seahawks might like when rebuilding their defense.
NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The departure of Richard Sherman leaves a huge void on the perimeter. Jackson would give the Seahawks a long, rangy cover corner with exceptional ball skills to plug into the lineup.
Sporting News: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Seahawks will think about offensive line but instead go after Richard Sherman’s replacement in another big, rangy corner who fits their zone coverage concepts. Jackson has seen his stock rise to the point where he’s firmly planted in the middle of the first round after Ward.
NFL Network’s Rhett Lewis: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Alexander doesn’t represent the length at CB that has become synonymous with the Seahawks in recent years, but he certainly brings the swag -- Daniel Jeremiah made note of it several times while watching Alexander on tape. Along with Shaquil Griffin, the youth movement in the Seattle secondary is underway.
As much as I appreciate the thought of another Alexander on the Seahawks roster, Rhett could’ve stopped right at “doesn’t represent the length at CB that has become synonymous with the Seahawks in recent years.” It’s accurate for both myself and Jaire, who is 5’10” and has 31 1/8” in arm length. That’s a total non-starter for as long as John Schneider is still in charge. For that matter, the same probably applies to Josh Jackson, who is taller than Jaire but has the same arm length.
Walter Football: Maurice Hurst, DE/DT, Michigan
The Seahawks will almost certainly trade down. After this selection, they don’t pick again until No. 120! Considering the amount of holes they have, they desperately need to acquire more resources.
Maurice Hurst, as you may have heard, was sent home from the combine because of a heart condition. Reports indicate that it doesn’t seem too serious, but he could fall into Day 2 as a result of his medical issues. If so, Seattle could trade down a couple of times and select Hurst in the 30-35 range to fill a big need.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Christian Kirk, WR - I could see the Seahawks trading down into the late 20s or early 30s and then grabbing Kirk to replace Paul Richardson.
2. Billy Price, C - Here’s another trade-down target, as Seattle needs to bolster its offensive line.
The Oregonian: Kolton Miller, T, UCLA (pick #27 via trade with New Orleans Saints)
The Seahawks have not used their original first-round pick since the 2011 draft and traded down three times in the 2017 draft. They trade down again, but remain in the first round to get the guy they wanted. The Seahawks can’t have quarterback Russell Wilson running around for his life again in 2018 and they need to make a serious investment in protecting him.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College (pick #24 via trade with Carolina Panthers)
Instead of looking at cornerback here, Landry will help to fortify Seattle’s pass-rush. After all, Michael Bennett is gone and at 32 coming off a season-ending injury, Cliff Avril can be an high-level producer anymore. Seattle gets the first of two third-round picks (No. 85 overall) from Carolina by sliding back.
I swear I copied and pasted that verbatim. Little did I know Michael Bennett was the one with a season-ending injury. And I think he means that Cliff Avril can’t be a high-level producer anymore.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Landry isn’t the most physical edge defender, but he has natural pass-rushing skills.
CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin: Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
If the Seahawks can’t move down for more picks, expect them to finally give Russell Wilson some help up front.
What do you mean “finally give Russell Wilson some help up front”? Has Seattle not been drafting offensive linemen within the first two rounds and trading for a Pro Bowl left tackle over these past couple of years?
ESPN’s Todd McShay: Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
Seattle needs as much help on the O-line as it can get. Hernandez is a mauler.
CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Davenport followed up a big Senior Bowl week with a strong combine, and the University of Texas-San Antonio standout brings his pass-rushing skills to Seattle, where the exodus of talent has the Seahawks in the running for the NFC West’s worst team. He had 21.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss during his four-year college career, and he would join a defensive line that is now without Michael Bennett and possibly Cliff Avril.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
You know how we always say, This team never thought Player X would be there? This is the first example of that in the first round. Davenport could go 10 to Oakland, and in a few spots between. I believe GM John Schneider thought it smart at this point to deal this pick down, and he very well would have if a good falling player was not available. Good for the Seahawks—who have had some rotten luck in recent drafts (particularly with Malik McDowell)—to be able stay put and get a guy who looks like the second-best edge-rush prospect in this draft.
Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
We’ve said for weeks now that they are trade-down candidates. But in this situation, who is moving up? If feels like this pick, if they stay here, would come down to the top defensive player or offensive lineman left. On our special board, that would be Davenport. Give him a year, and he could be special.
The Ringer’s Danny Kelly: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
With Michael Bennett traded to Philadelphia and Cliff Avril’s future still in doubt, Seattle will need help off the edge. Davenport is raw, but he’s big, fast, and physical—and could make an impact immediately by carving out a rotational pass-rushing role alongside Frank Clark, Marcus Smith, and Dion Jordan.
Tacoma News Tribune: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA (pick #23 via trade with New England Patriots)
This would be an ideal scenario, the best thing to happen to the Seahawks this offseason. Get back a second-round pick and still snag the athletic, raw pass rusher they need with Michael Bennett traded and fellow Pro Bowl end Cliff Avril’s career on hold because of a neck injury. If last year’s top pick Malik McDowell hadn’t wrecked on an ATV, they’d be picking LSU running back Derrius Guice here.
The Big Lead: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Seahawks lost three starters on defense, and this is a nice building block for the future.
12th Man Rising’s Lee Vowell: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
I laugh and laugh. Seattle never changing off pick 18? Whatever. It’s not if it happens, it’s when. 12s all know this.
What Davenport is is a tall defensive end with a ton of speed. He is the perfect Seattle defensive lineman. Coach Pete Carroll likes – not loves – pass rushers and Davenport fits the need.
NFL Network’s Peter Schrager: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
One of the best stories in the draft -- the long, athletic UTSA product goes 18th overall to Seattle. Cliff Avril is signed through 2018, but we don’t know what the future holds for him, and Frank Clark needs a complement off the edge. Davenport’s a bit of a project, but he has improved leaps and bounds over the past two seasons. He stole the show at Reese’s Senior Bowl practices.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
There’s an excellent chance the Seahawks trade back from No. 18, particularly if they hang on to Earl Thomas and are still without picks in the second and third rounds. Either way, their offense needs more weapons for Russell Wilson after losing a combined 20 touchdowns from 2018 with Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and Luke Willson departing in free agency. Moore has nice speed and athleticism and he’s the type of big target the Seahawks have been looking for.
NFL Draft Scout’s Rob Rang: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Seahawks already spent their second- and third-round picks of the 2018 draft, landing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (Jets) and offensive tackle Duane Brown (Texans) in trades, leaving general manager John Schneider with essentially two choices here — either trade back to recoup picks or directly address the club’s anemic running game. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Guice possesses the combination of burst, balance through contact and toughness Seattle has lacked since Marshawn Lynch left town.
Field Gulls’ Kenneth Arthur: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
I don’t think that Jackson would be drafted to replace Wilson, but instead to give Seattle options when Wilson’s contract comes up for extension or expiration in 2020. The Seahawks don’t have a backup quarterback on the roster currently and have only drafted one quarterback in John Schneider’s nine-year tenure, but Schneider was also an assistant to Ted Thompson in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers to backup Brett Favre. Seattle drafting a quarterback early would be less of a shock than you think, because even if it may not help them on the field in 2018, it is a sensible business move, which is something the Seahawks also value highly. The Patriots managed to get 3.5 years out of Jimmy Garoppolo as a good backup and then swapped him for a higher second-round pick than they originally used on him, so Seattle could also just be putting a trade chip in their pocket if Jackson doesn’t become the future starter. I’d take a pass rusher if there was one I thought really made sense, but if a pass rusher falls out of the top 15, that usually means they’re not all that exciting; Jackson is perhaps the most exciting player in this draft. People forget that.
Using a completely random sample of 25 mock drafts, here’s the scoreboard:
Marcus Davenport - 8
Josh Jackson - 6
Will Hernandez - 2
Harold Landry - 2
Maurice Hurst - 1
Tremaine Edmunds - 1
Jaire Alexander - 1
Kolton Miller - 1
Lamar Jackson - 1
D.J. Moore - 1
Derrius Guice - 1
Of those 25 mocks, 19 have gone to defense, and only three went for an offensive skill position. Seattle is always one to surprise, so I’m sure there’s a strong chance that none of these guys is in a Seahawks uniform come training camp, but it seems as if the prevailing belief is the pass defense -- meaning quarterback harassers and ball-hawk cornerbacks — is the top priority heading into Thursday.