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Seahawks check two boxes, uncheck two others in draft’s first round

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
here’s to many more tackles of Dak, by Earl
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Besides shock the pants off virtually every fan — somehow — the Seattle Seahawks checked a couple things off their to-do list in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. And because they like the drama, they also left a couple unchecked.

In other words, 2018 is just like every other draft year. You might want to buckle up, again. Again again.

Done: Acquired some mid-round firepower

The Seahawks didn’t manage to trade out of the first round entirely, nor did they manage to secure a second-round pick. All they got for scooting back nine slots was 3.76 and 6.186, courtesy of the Green Bay Packers.

But with their third, their fourth, and their quartet of fifths (5.141, 5.146, 5.156 and 5.168), they now have enough capital to get anywhere they want after the second round concludes. Remember that they packaged four picks to rise and nab Tyler Lockett in 2015. While a similar move doesn’t seem likely, at least now they can pull it off if the mood strikes.

Undone: put the Earl Thomas trade rumors to rest

Put aside the Dallas Cowboys rumors for a few pixels. The Colts have 2.36 and 2.37 to wield if they want to make a Thomas-related play. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have three second-rounders. Prompting this opinion from seahawksdraftblog’s Rob Staton:

710ESPN’s Brady Henderson reports that Dallas is still in the picture anyway.

Thomas rumors will swirl. Would you take two second-rounders for him? Will John Schneider? That question will get answered by day’s end.

Done: reaffirmed their commitment to rushing the dang football

No matter how you feel about Seattle going RB in round one, the message it sends is clear.

The Seahawks are going to run the ball, and they’re going to do it with a versatile playmaker. Not only did Rashaad Penny lead all of college football in rushing yards, he did it while averaging in excess of seven yards per carry (7.5) and while breaking the most tackles of any runner in the country (80).

Penny is a beast. Not yet a Beast. But he cuts at the line of scrimmage like a Shawn Alexander type. He bursts through the hole like a reborn 2015 Thomas Rawls. He sheds tacklers like, dare I say, a young Marshawn Lynch.

He’s not a flawless combination of those three memorable, unforgettable Seahawks. But he can do some of the things they each did, some of the time, and it’s not hard to see why the team fell in love with him.

It’s possible to quibble with the wisdom of spending 1.27 on a running back (especially when you don’t have another selection until the third round) but also marvel at the pick’s football playmaking ability. If all goes well, Penny will give fans and analysts the chance to do both.

Undone: replenished the pass rush

With Michael Bennett in Philadelphia, Cliff Avril’s future in football at peak uncertainty, and Frank Clark entering the final year of his rookie contract, the Seahawks’ depth chart at edge rusher is shallow and untested. As pass rushers are snapped up Friday in the middle rounds, will Schneider and Carroll get their man, or their fifth choice, or their tenth? Hard to say when you only have a 3 and a 4 in the arsenal.

There will be a run on defensive ends. It hasn’t happened, for whatever reason. But it will.

The Seahawks’ undone items figure to force their way back into the conversation throughout the second and third rounds of the draft. If you were looking for a dull start to the extended weekend, it would have been better to temporarily transfer your fanhood to the Los Angeles Rams, who did not have a first-rounder. LA will also sit out the second round, and is not slated to pick until 3.87. See? It could be worse.

Besides. Penny has his priorities in order. Has for a while.