Everyone is entitled to their own favorite draft analyst, and for me that guy is — Rob Staton, the dude who I do the 3000 NFL Mock Draft podcast with every week. Hell, that’s why I do the podcast.
On Thursday, in his final mock draft on SeahawksDraftBlog.com, Rob found a way to get the Seattle Seahawks from zero day two picks to four day two picks. Not that it didn’t come with some pain in the gain. Rob has the Seahawks first trading down from pick 18 to pick 33 in a move with the Cleveland Browns, and adding the final pick in the second round (64) and a fourth rounder (114). It would be a significant cost to the Browns, but they still have picks 1, 4, and 35 — and I suspect they’re still going to trade down from 4 so they can get their Cleveland-Required two first round picks in 2019.
I tried to find a really comparable deal under the current CBA (2011-2017) and couldn’t. The major component here is that the Seahawks are giving up their first round pick benefits (fifth-year option) and they also did that in the 2014 draft: Seattle sends pick 32 to the Minnesota Vikings and acquires picks 40 and 108. The big difference between moving from 32 to 40 and from 18 to 33 is ... well, the size of the jump and the value of the Seahawks’ pick.
And those are major differences.
In 2014, Seattle was trading the last pick of the first round when surely most, if not all, players with a first round grade were gone. All they got for moving back was a fourth round pick. On Thursday, the Seahawks are picking 18th, and that means there’s a good chance that there will be players with first round grades still available on the board for most teams. More bidders = Better haul.
If the winning bidder is the Browns, that means a drop down of 15 picks and the loss of a fifth-year option. If Cleveland really wants someone — in Rob’s case, tackle Kolton Miller out of UCLA — then giving up their first and third second round picks, plus a fourth, is more reasonable. If the Seahawks want to trade down but don’t want to move that far, or the offers from teams in the early second round aren’t good enough, then they’ll likely have other options.
But going back to Rob’s mock draft, Seattle acquires picks 33, 64, and 114. And here’s what happens:
33. Seahawks select Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
64. Seahawks select Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia
In this scenario, Seattle acquires Oliver, who some have as the best corner in this draft and a guy who has the height and arm length that they’re looking for. Oliver may go earlier than this if there’s just one team that buys into the “sleeper” hype in the way that SB Nation colleague Brett Kollmann (The Film Room) does. I mean, if you thought that Oliver was the best corner in the draft, and had the potential to be the next Richard Sherman, and he fell out of the top 20 or 25, wouldn’t you trade back into the first round to get him if you had to?I could name the potential “fits” for a cornerback, but in today’s NFL you can bet that corners, edge rushers, and offensive linemen all fall into the category of “Can never have enough.”
The Seahawks may indeed see Oliver as the guy they want and feel that he’s not that likely to go in the first round and move back, but they also didn’t hesitate to draft Bruce Irvin — okay, they hesitated slightly. Seattle traded back from 12 to 15 and then selected Irvin way earlier than many analysts had projected because they felt very confident that Irvin would get picked soon after. I can’t imagine very many scenarios in which the Seahawks don’t trade back, but I could see plenty of scenarios in which they only trade back “a little bit.”
Said Rob of Brown:
“I still think Andrew Brown is a viable target given his strong character, versatility and fantastic short shuttle time (a test that appeals to Seattle for defensive linemen).”
A move like this one would give the Seahawks two new defensive players and would address two huge needs headed into the 2018 season. But it’s not all that Rob had them doing on day two. In fact, these two picks would only bookend Seattle’s other pick of the day — and that one costs a doozy, while opening up a major hole in their defense headed into the 2018 season.
If looking for more picks, financial flexibility, and a continuation of the current trend to turnover the old(er) stars on defense, then Rob has the Earl Thomas trade for you:
Earl Thomas to the Dallas Cowboys for picks 50 and 90
Rob has the Cowboys picking up an extra third rounder from the Falcons, then flipping it along with their second rounder to Seattle for Thomas. It ends the will they-won’t they drama with a “They will” and gives the Seahawks two - if I’m being honest - mediocre picks for an elite player. Not that I don’t understand why it could happen: Seattle didn’t see a viable future with Michael Bennett and the return in trade was extremely underwhelming. If they don’t see a viable future with Thomas because he’s a free agent in 2019 and seems intent on leaving, then the return will be underwhelming. Thursday could be the Seahawks last best chance to trade Thomas.
Not that an additional second and third round pick would be a bad thing, but just a reality that what you may be getting is “Paul Richardson” and “Delano Hill” for Earl Thomas. Or “Justin Britt” and “C.J. Prosise” for Earl Thomas. Or “Ethan Pocic” and “Shaquill Griffin” for Earl Thomas. And maybe in your best case scenario you get “Justin Britt” and “Shaquill Griffin” for Earl Thomas, which is two very good starters, but the likelihood of ever replacing Thomas with a second and third round pick is very low. Okay, that’s just the nature of the NFL as players age and at some point, they’ll be gone anyway.
Just pointing out the reality of the return. At one point, getting anything less than a good first round pick for Thomas seemed like a fair place to draw the line. In 2013, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded the 13th overall pick and a conditional third to the New York Jets for Darrelle Revis. Revis was 28 and coming off of a torn ACL that cost him most of 2012. Thomas is 29 and, well, not coming off of a torn ACL.
However, times change. The Seahawks once got two first round picks for Joey Galloway and the 11th overall pick for Rick Mirer and a fourth. Stuff like that ain’t happening anymore either.
This is what the Seahawks do with the 50th overall pick in Rob’s scenario:
50. Seahawks select Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
John Schneider and Pete Carroll have been steadily pulling from the Texas A&M pipeline during their time in Seattle and the interest in Kirk is obvious.
90. Seahawks select Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
In Ballage, Seattle would be getting a 6’2, 228 lb back who certainly wasn’t over-used during his time with the Sun Devils: 450 carries in four seasons, but 1,005 total yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior in 2016. Ballage ran a 4.46 at the combine with a 33.5” vertical and a 10’2 broad jump.
At the end of the day (Fri-day that is), this is what the Seahawks would have done in Rob’s scenario:
Seahawks trade pick 18, Earl Thomas
Seahawks acquire picks 33, 50, 64, and 90, and 114
Seahawks select Isaiah Oliver (CB), Christian Kirk (WR), Andrew Brown (DE), Kalen Ballage (RB), Shaquem Griffin (LB)
(Rob also has the Seahawks selecting Griffin with the fourth rounder acquired from the Browns.)
Seattle would be losing a future Hall of Famer who could very well be their best player on defense and giving up on a mid-first round talent but acquiring five players on rookie contracts over the next four years. It gives them a corner, which they really need, a receiver, which they really need, a young edge rusher, which they really need, a running back, which they really need, and linebacker depth, which they really need.
Are picks 50 and 90 for Earl Thomas a "satisfactory" return?
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It’s hard to argue against that and the Seahawks would still have seven more picks left to go. I guess the biggest question in a scenario like this is: does Seattle even have draftable grades on players in this class to make this many picks? (For the rest of the picks, go to SeahawksDraftBlog and read the rest of the piece, including what all the other teams did.)
18. Seahawks select Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Strangely, Mayock opted to only mock one trade: Bills moving up with the Colts to select quarterback Josh Allen. It’s strange because clearly Mayock is saying “I can make trades” but then he also opts to only do it one time. I guess he didn’t want to muddle up the whole board but just saw one huge need, however, if there’s a team that is most likely to trade on Thursday, it is the Seahawks, right?
It’s just not going to be that exciting.
In this scenario, Seattle adds an edge prospect with a much better grade than Brown. Davenport is 6’6, 264 lbs, with 33.6” arms. He ran a 4.46 with a 33.5” vertical and a 10’2 broad. He didn’t play against great competition, but in a 2016 game against Texas A&M, perhaps the only player on the field who was better was Myles Garrett. (Davenport had 11 tackles and a sack, while Garrett had ... 4.5 sacks. Against UTSA, but still.)
That would be a really exciting thing for Seattle to add to their defense, though it’s a lot less change than what Rob has. The other difference being: we don’t know if Mayock thinks the Seahawks will trade Thomas. Or what they could get for him. But we do have two potential mock draft options to choose from and they are wildly different:
Seattle gives up pick 18 and a great player and make five selections between 33 and 114.
Seattles stays at pick 18 and gets a great defensive end prospect, keeping Thomas in the process.
Which would you prefer?
Which draft outcome would you prefer?
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