The Seattle Seahawks must trade down in the 2019 NFL Draft. Multiple times. Taking a player with the 21st pick of the draft would ignore the fact that a needy Seattle only have four picks: Round 1 Pick 21; Round 3 Pick 84; Round 4 Pick 116; and Round 5 Pick 148. Multiple trade backs will happen, ignoring that it’s now a customary first-round trade down from John Schneider anyway.
Teams will be aware the Seahawks are wanting to trade down. They’re a regular “trade down” franchise and this year it’s even more obvious. At events like the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, where all the big personnel influencers are present, the Seahawks will have put out the “we are trading down” feelers. There isn’t some manic 10-minute period of draft-day scrambling to find a trade partner. Teams know.
Let’s look at five possible trade down scenarios for Seattle then. Free Agency will influence what teams do, but experience of past drafts and previous trade downs from the Seahawks give us a solid chance of predicting how Seattle will move down in the draft and gain more picks. There will always be “types” open to cooperation (exploitation):
1. The quarterback-needy
Remember in 2016 when the Seahawks found a trade partner in the Denver Broncos? The Broncos, concerned that the Dallas Cowboys were going to take Paxton Lynch, gave up a third-round pick to move up just five spots from 31 to 26. (Seattle took Germain Ifedi and Nick Vannett with the pair of selections)
Lynch is now a Seahawk, evidence of how well Denver’s first-round pick panned out. The desperation of quarterback needy teams to grab their guy, or sometimes any passer at all, must not be underestimated.
In 2019 the quarterback class is dreadful. That won’t stop there being a late first-round quarterback taken though. A first-round rookie deal features the added team-friendliness of a fifth-year option, which makes taking a quarterback in the first preferable. It’s not just teams needing an immediate upgrade to their QB1; franchise quarterback successors for the aging Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers will, eventually, be required.
The league is likely to be lower on the electric playmaking talents of Kyler Murray. (He’s getting top 10 talk from draftniks) There are numerous, valid concerns surrounding the Heisman Trophy winner.
- He’s listed at 5ft 8 on Oklahoma’s website.
- His release is “baseball-style,” as Sports Info Solutions scout Bryce Rossler writes. It features “a false pump and an occasional looping motion from the hip which, when combined with his body composition, will result in some batted balls and pass deflections at the pro level.”
- Murray’s recent interview on the Dan Patrick show was bizarre and made it look like he was treating the NFL as leverage for his baseball career.
Murray might be the player teams rush to trade back into the first round for though. Or Daniel Jones and Ryan Finley feel like passers who the league is higher on than #drafttwitter. Quarterbacks provide the Seahawks with the best and most lucrative opportunities.
2. The fear of missing out
In the draft, positions have tiers. General Managers will talk about the “shelves” of each positional group. What keeps a GM up at night is the fear of plummeting off the ledge. This is especially true for a position of need. Finding what point a tier ends and avoiding being left out are massive parts of drafting well.
A 2019 draft example would be the Mariana Trench-deep tight end group. Despite the plethora of talent, there is a consensus top three tight ends who are above the rest. If a team wants a premium tight end; T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant and Irv Smith Jr. are the trio that will be taken.
3. The positional run
A run on a certain position is linked to the above. Terrified of being left out of that “tier”, a certain position will start flying off the board one after the other. If a team has a certain need at a position, they will grow especially terrified of being left out of the rush.
Of the last nine picks in the 2015 fourth round, five were interior offensive linemen. (The order: guard, linebacker, guard, center, wide receiver, center, guard, defensive end, cornerback) Seattle took Mark Glowinski in the mêlée.
Or teams will look to kick off the next tier. This draft that could be Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard, who is receiving late first round consideration. Offensive tackles have hovered around this spot in the past: In 2018 the Patriots started the next level of OTs taking Isaiah Wynn at #23 and the year before Garrett Bolles landed with the Broncos at #20.
4. The sniper
Sometimes a team will be concerned that a team above them likes the exact same player—it doesn’t have to be a quarterback. Therefore, they will snipe that player from the team.
In 2010, when the Kansas City Chiefs took Eric Berry #5 overall, many pondered if that was who the Seahawks wanted at #6. As it was, Seattle got Russel Okung and then later Earl Thomas at #14.
In 2012, the Seahawks traded down from #43 to #47 with the New York Jets, picking up 5th- and 7th-round selections. Questions were raised. The Philadelphia Eagles took linebacker Mychal Kendricks at #46. At that point in the draft, there were only two linebackers worth taking at that spot. The Seahawks were left with no choice and picked Bobby Wagner at #47. Did they want Kendricks? Whatever the case, it worked out.
2016 resulted in the Houston Texans swapping their #22 pick and sixth-rounder for Washington’s #21 selection. The Texans, aware the Minnesota Vikings at #23 were likely going wide receiver, didn’t want to miss out on Will Fuller. They got Fuller, Washington got Josh Doctson and the Vikings—who could have leapfrogged Houston—settled for Laquon Treadwell.
The Eagles were pesky last year, jumping above the Dallas Cowboys to take Dallas Goedert:
If you think Dallas really didn’t want to draft Goedert, watch the Dallas war room immediately after Eagles selected him.. pic.twitter.com/j0VMtqyaXU— GoBirds (@joslewis) April 28, 2018
By moving down, Seattle can facilitate the metaphorical hit.
5. The meddling owner
You know the scene. The NFL Network cameras cut to a Dallas Cowboys war-room. Jerry Jones is desperately clawing for the phone as his draft crush falls. The rest of the Front Office looks anxious as the seconds tick by, hoping Jones heads for a restroom break so they can lock him in the bathroom. The Cowboys managed to stop him from going rogue and taking Johnny Manziel—per Jim Dent.
That task was left to the meddling of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. According to Seth Wickersham, Haslam wanted Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater after a dodgy handshake from the latter. The Browns were going to take Brandin Cooks. Instead they selected Manziel with their second first-round pick.
Owners can get wild.
Plenty of opportunities
Come April 25th, the Seahawks will have plenty of opportunities to move back. They are unlikely to pick in the first round. Honestly, with how deep the 2019 draft is, that’s fine. Individual player value will become clearer after the NFL combine and pro days—combine begins February 26th.
Yet little clarity is needed on the immense quality of this class. Its main strengths—the trenches—suits Seattle’s situation perfectly. Now they must capitalize on the trade partner-types.