With the 2018 NFL Draft finishing up in Dallas on Saturday, the speculation can transition from who the team will take in the draft to which of those drafted players will make the 2018 Seattle Seahawks roster. Several of the selections come at positions where the team has been waiting for a developmental player to take a step up, but many of those players have failed to do so. This may be a shot across the bow for many of those players, as the team looks to continue its tradition of high levels of competition and pushing players.
So, while the players added in the draft have a great chance to establish themselves as Seahawks, several current players need to put their nose to the grindstone because if they look over their shoulder they might see a youngster looking to make them expendable. So, which Seahawks need to be the most concerned about each of the new draftees?
Round 1: Rashaad Penny
Penny is a dynamic threat in both the running game and the passing game. He’s effectively a first round version of C.J. Prosise or J.D. McKissic, with game breaking speed and home run potential every time he touches the ball. He’s far bigger than McKissic and he’s displayed far more durability to this point in his career than Prosise. He maintains better big play potential than Chris Carson, who lacked high end speed before suffering an ankle injury in 2017, and he’s simply a better back than Mike Davis.
Someone is likely to get moved out of the Seahawks RB room in 2018, and it’s anybody’s guess who will get bumped off the edge.
Round 3: Rasheem Green
Green is a versatile defensive lineman who will play both inside and outside on the defensive line. He isn’t stout enough at this point to play inside on running downs, but can disrupt the pocket with interior pressure on certain passing downs. He’s unlikely to bump Frank Clark or Dion Jordan from the roles they have carved out for themselves, but Branden Jackson or Noble Nwachukwu could find themselves looking for a new job at the end of camp after Green’s addition.
Round 4: Will Dissly
This one is easiest to lay out by using the words of the Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, who after the selection had the following to say about Dissly.
Carroll on Will Dissly: It's been harder to find blocking TEs. Having a hard time to find guys to come in and do both (block and catch). We tuned into him early, and kept our fingers crossed the whole time.— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) April 28, 2018
Schneider: Closest thing we've seen to Zach Miller.#Seahawks
That’s all great news for Dissly and for what the team wants to do, but it’s not great news for 2016 third round draft pick Nick Vannett. The team saw both Luke Willson and Jimmy Graham leave in free agency in March, and it certainly appeared that Vannett would step into a much larger role, even after the addition of Ed Dickson from the Carolina Panthers. However, for the second time in three years the Seahawks have now used a mid round pick on a blocking tight end, and it appears that the time for Vannett to perform or start worrying about where he will be employed in 2019 may become a valid question.
In fact, it may not be unreasonable to imagine Vannett will be looking for a new job this season. That won’t likely be my expectation, as Brian Schottenheimer has shown a willingness to carry four tight ends on the roster in the past, but 2018 will most certainly be a put up or shut up season for Vannett.
Round 5: Shaquem Griffin
Griffin was drafted into the position group where the Seahawks have the absolute least depth - linebacker - as they had only five players on the roster prior to the addition of Griffin. Those five includes the presumed starters Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Barkevious Mingo. Behind those names are Paul Dawson and D.J. Alexander. Alexander was a Pro Bowl special teamer for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016, while Dawson is a fringe roster player who has been on and off the practice squads of the Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals the past two seasons. With Griffin’s special teams skills, both Dawson and Alexander could see their job go to Shaquem.
Round 5: Tre Flowers
Flowers is another in a line of safety-to-corner conversion projects, much like the team is doing with 2016 draftee Mike Tyson, and much like it unsuccessfully tried to do with 2014 draftee Eric Pinkins. Between the fact that he was drafted in the fifth round and the difficulty for some players to make the move from safety to corner, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Flowers to spend his rookie season on the practice squad. Pinkins spent 2014 on the non-football injury list and most of 2015 on the practice squad, and Tyson spent 2017 on the practice squad.
However, if Flowers comes in and shines, it could be bad news for any cornerback not named Shaquill Griffin or Justin Coleman. The team typically carries five cornerbacks, and that means Flowers will be in competition with Dontae Johnson, DeAndre Elliott, Mike Tyson, Byron Maxwell, Akeem King and Neiko Thorpe for three spots. Thorpe may have a leg up on one of the three spots simply because of his outstanding special teams skills, but it will certainly be interesting when camp rolls around.
Round 5: Michael Dickson
This selection certainly seems to be the knock at the door letting everyone know that Jon Ryan’s career as a Seahawk may be coming to an end. Dickson would make less than half over the next four years as Ryan is slated to make over the next two seasons. Add in the fact that Dickson is roughly a decade and a half younger, and it certainly seems as though Ryan’s days are numbered.
Round 5: Jamarco Jones
Carroll stated that Jones will compete at left tackle, with George Fant moving over to right tackle compete with Germain Ifedi. I don’t think there’s any fear that Jones will beat out Pro Bowl tackle Duane Brown, but Fant and Ifedi competing at the right tackle spot will certainly be interesting for fans.
Round 6: Jacob Martin
Martin is an EDGE rusher who recorded eight sacks in twelve games for the Temple Owls in 2017. Physically and athletically compares very well to Chris Clemons or Marcus Smith, meaning he may be there to try and fill the void that could be left if Cliff Avril’s neck injury indeed proves to be career ending. Frank Clark isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it as though Martin may be competing to push Smith off the roster.
Round 7: Alex McGough
McGough is not going to unseat Russell Wilson at quarterback, but 2017 backup Austin Davis, and the recently added Stephen Morris are likely to see competition in camp for the right to be the guy who gets to kneel at the end of Super Bowl 53.
Later today or Monday I’ll take a quick look at several of the UDFAs who could find themselves in the conversation to make the final 53 man roster at the end of training camp.