For months we’ve speculated that the Seattle Seahawks would trade down from 21 to acquire more picks, but Tuesday’s trade of Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t just give them one more selection this weekend (and one more in 2020), it also gave them additional options for what to do with the first round pick they already had.
Let’s quickly review the possibilities:
Keep both pick 21 and pick 29
In some respects, the Seahawks have already done what they would set out to do with trading down from 21: they added two picks. In fact, they added a really good pick for 2019. So does this deal make Seattle a little more easy about staying put and selecting the two best players available in the first round?
Who knows how fantastic the prospects could end up being in the 20s and what if the Seahawks felt they were getting O.J. Howard and T.J. Watt? Or Derwin James and Leighton Vander Esch? At a certain point would Seattle’s draft classes feel more powerful if they had powerful prospects, something they haven’t really had since they did use two first round picks in the same year and came away with Russell Okung and Earl Thomas.
Pros: Two first round picks
Cons: Only three picks remaining
Stay at 21, trade down from 29
Trading Clark and acquiring Kansas City’s first rounder gives Seattle a little more incentive to keep their original pick and still move down from 29 to add more picks for later. The Seahawks haven’t selected a player in the top-26 since 2012. If there’s a prospect that feels strangely available like James was last year, maybe pick 29 gives John Schneider an excuse to take a player they feel is a day 1 starter.
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles traded down from 32 to 52 when the Baltimore Ravens wanted to pick Lamar Jackson in the first round, and the Eagles added a 2019 second rounder and swapping fourth round picks. In 2017, the Seahawks moved down from 31 to 34 and added a fourth round pick. In 2016, the Seahawks moved down from 26 to 31 and added a third rounder.
Pros: Get a higher quality first pick, add an early day three pick later
Cons: Not as much of a return on pick 29
Trade down at 21, stay at 29
I think what pick 29 could really do for Seattle is give them the confidence to make a rather massive trade down at 21. We already know that the Seahawks are comfortable not picking until the middle of or late on day two; they waited until pick 35 in 2017, to pick 45 in 2014, and to pick 63 in 2015. They don’t care that much.
So I could see Seattle making a big jump down from 21 if it gives them a solid return and multiple new picks to use. There are teams we could name as possibilities, but the order and ownership of second and third round picks could change considerably by Thursday night.
And then once they move down 21 and pick up a good haul on one or two deals that stem from their original pick, maybe they’re motivated to stay at 29, pick the best player they can get, and forego adding a late third round pick just to move down a few spots.
Pros: Still add a first round prospect while also adding draft picks for later
Cons: Fewer picks than if you trade down with both picks, letting go of potentially better prospect at 21
Likelihood: Maybe most likely yet
Trade down both picks
It’s probably the thing that is most expected at this point. The Seahawks still only have five picks and they’ve never had fewer than eight in any year with Schneider and Pete Carroll. Seattle could move down at 21 and add at least two decent picks, then could move down from 29 and add a third. Maybe they end up with zero first round prospects but the term “first round” itself is a bit overrated. The actual difference between most prospects at 21 and most prospects at 45 is usually in the contract language, not in the talent. But in the case of moving down twice, the Seahawks could have three or four or five additional prospects with which to place their bets on.
It’s interesting — the Chiefs have two picks at the end of round two, but the traded ended up being pick 29. I wonder if Kansas City offered that. I wonder if the Seahawks rejected it. If Seattle does move down from 29, should we assume that the return would be better than two second round picks? I think they see themselves being able to move down from 29 and add at least a third rounder and then could move down again to add two day three picks. That gives them the chance to turn one pick into four instead of just two.
Pros: Highest percentage shot to have a full draft class
Cons: Moving out of the first round again
Trade ... Up?!?!
I had to list it as possible.
For the first time in the modern PC/JS era, a trade up is on the table, I guess. The Seahawks are actually kissing the top-20 again and have some 2020 ammo to move up if they happen to see a player in the top-15 who looks too good to let slip away.
Pros: Great prospect
Cons: Fewer picks, more risk
Likelihood: I listed it as possible and I guess that’s as far as I’m willing to go