The wait has felt longer than usual thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the associated stay at home orders around that globe that have kept many football fans from going out and doing the things they normally would, but it’s finally arrived.
Woke up in the middle of the night to say this:— Justis Mosqueda (Draft Day 44) (@JuMosq) April 23, 2020
DRAFT DAY— Anthony Amico (@amicsta) April 23, 2020
We're finally here. Draft day. pic.twitter.com/MDgSLSziFT— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 23, 2020
It would be possible to keep going and going, but that’s likely unnecessary. In any case, the first 32 selections of the 2020 NFL Draft are scheduled to be made Thursday evening, meaning there will be 32 new players for fans to be excited about and hype up in the coming months.
For fans of the Seattle Seahawks the arrival of the start of the draft means that if the player you want them to draft is available when they come on the clock at pick 27, they’ll probably crush your heart and soul by trading down. In any case, I took a stab Sunday at what I think the Hawks are likely to do on Day 1 and Day 2 of the draft, and now it’s time to move on to Day 3.
As a refresher, my guess is the team will trade out of the first round and add three picks over the course of the draft. They seem likely to make ten selections over the course of the draft, with five on Day 2 and five on Day three. Heading into Day 3, my guess is that Seattle will have already added the following positions:
- Running back
- Wide receiver
- Interior defensive line
- Edge rusher
- A second iDL or EDGE determined by best player available with their final pick on Day 2
Surveying the team’s needs after assuming the above positions have been added, it seems possible they could use a late round pick on a quarterback, much as they did in selecting Alex McGough in 2018. One could also argue the team used a pick in 2019 on a quarterback, as John Schneider sent a 2019 sixth round pick to the Green Bay Packers for Brett Hundley in 2018. The fact that the Hawks don’t have a single backup quarterback currently on the roster could be an indication that they would use a Day 3 pick on the position.
However, considering that the team has an established starter and there are plenty of potential backups available unsigned across the league there may be something else at play. What seems more likely is that the fact that the team does not currently have a backup may be used as a selling point in working to recruit multiple undrafted free agents with the idea of an open competition. Now, if the team needs to use a seventh round pick on a quarterback that they feel strongly about who may not be willing to sign with the Hawks as an UDFA, they could always trade a future pick for a seventh like they did when they weren’t confident they could sign John Ursua last year.
Now, a position group where the Seahawks have gone heavy since Pete Carroll and John Schneider arrived in 2010 is in the secondary. Specifically, the team has used 19 draft picks on defensive backs over the past ten drafts, with 15 of those picks coming on Day 3. While they have been more likely to find Tharold Simon, Tedric Thompson, Tye Smith and Eric Pinkins than Richard Sherman or Kam Chancellor in recent seasons, there’s no reason to doubt that they won’t at least try.
That becomes even more likely given that recent reports have the team letting Shaquill Griffin play out his rookie contract this season.
To add to this: It's my understanding no extension is planned for Shaquill Griffin this offseason, and that he will play out his rookie contract in 2020 https://t.co/hqab83eoc8— Alistair Corp (@byAlistairCorp) April 22, 2020
Add in that recently acquired Quinton Dunbar is only under contract for the 2020 season, and cornerback is certainly a position of need at some point in the not too distant future.
So, for a team drafts an average of 1.9 defensive backs per year, it certainly seems like they’ll stick to their tendencies and draft two defensive backs this year. Whether the team will draft two cornerbacks, or whether they might opt to go cornerback and safety is anyone’s guess, but with Quandre Diggs and Marquise Blair under contract for the next two years, safety appears to be a less pressing need. Thus, my guess is for two cornerbacks on Day 3.
From there, the fact that the Hawks have stocked up on offensive linemen this offseason is no secret as well. While it would be somewhat of a surprise for the team to use an early pick on an offensive tackle, in each of the last three years the team for which Mike Solari has coached has spent exactly one Day 3 draft pick on an offensive lineman. In 2017 that was Adam Bisnowaty, in 2018 it was Jamarco Jones and in 2019 Phil Haynes.
While Seattle currently has 18 offensive linemen on the roster, 14 of those linemen are interior linemen. There are only four tackles on the roster, including Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi and Chad Wheeler. Even if one counts Jamarco Jones as a tackle, the group is still heavily weighted towards the interior, making tackle a position where a Day 3 pick could be brought in without the expectations of needing to be a starter right away. That would give the drafted player an opportunity to develop behind Shell and Brown, both of whom are under contract for both this season and next. While Brown is at the age where he could easily walk away after 2020, even that would give a player a full year of development.
From there, the team seems likely to dip once again into the defensive line group. It’s a position of need for the team, and it’s a position group where they’ve averaged one Day 3 pick per draft, even after excluding the offensive line conversion projects. Success has varied, from Quinton Jefferson and Jaye Howard to Lazarius Levingston, Jimmy Staten and Jesse Williams, but what has been consistent has been the allocation of draft capital to the position.
Lastly, with both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny coming back from serious leg injuries, expect the team to double dip at the running back position. After averaging just 3.5 yards per carry in his starts in Week 17 and the Wild Card game, Travis Homer was benched in favor of Marshawn Lynch for the Divisional Round. That is in spite of Lynch having averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in those two games, and kind of says everything that needs to be known about the depth of the running back position. So, add a Day 3 running back to the back the team takes on Day 2, and that’s extra competition at a spot where the team can also add any of a number of players through free agency or as UDFAs after the draft.
Putting all these expectations together for the three days of the draft, my guess is that the Seahawks finish Saturday having added ten players at the following positions.
- Trade out and add picks
- Interior defensive line,
- Wide receiver,
- Running back and
- Defensive line, either interior or EDGE, depending on how things fall relative to their board
- Two cornerbacks
- Running back
- Offensive tackle
- Defensive line (either interior or EDGE, depending on the last DL picked on Day 2 and how things fall relative to their board
Now, of course, comes the fun part and seeing which players they actually select over the next three days.