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Key questions to be answered by the Seahawks in the 2021 NFL Draft

NFL Combine - Day 1 Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

We’re a mere hours away from the Seattle Seahawks’ involvement in the 2021 NFL Draft. Picks are sparse at the moment but we expect that by the end of Saturday the haul will be more than just three players.

There are other storylines worth paying attention to over the next couple of days, and all of these questions should have an answer by Saturday afternoon.

1.) Will historical tendencies be broken?

The Seahawks have neither drafted a cornerback first under Carroll and Schneider nor taken a CB earlier than the third round. We could see them go CB in the third round and double as their first pick. I can’t imagine anyone would be comfortable with the current outside corner depth situation. This is a position I expect Seattle to address at some point but if it’s in round two then that’s your c-c-c-c-c-combobreaker.

If you want a good sense of Seahawky corners, check out former Field Gulls film analyst Matty F. Brown’s spreadsheet. Several of these CBs will be taken (Jaycee Horn and Patrick Sutrain Jr) before 56th overall but there are many who could be in Seattle’s reach.

2.) Trading is inevitable, but will any Seahawks players be included in John Schneider’s deals?

This is another tendency buster to monitor. Maybe John Schneider won’t turn three picks into nine but he will find a way to get some additional picks. Seattle has not traded any players this offseason and indeed have never traded away a player on Draft Day in the Carroll-Schneider era. They have acquired players for picks but never the other way around.

Striking the big stars from the board, the Seahawks have some (but not many) trade options who could net them Day 3 picks. Rashaad Penny, Rasheem Green, and Tre Flowers are all on expiring contracts, but trading Flowers makes an already thin CB group even thinner. Green and Penny have shown flashes of promise but that’s all they’ve shown. I’ve seen L.J. Collier floated around by some Seahawks fans as someone who could be on the block but I wouldn’t bail just yet. Everyone else is either untouchable or unlikely to fetch anything in return and thus would just be easier to release.

3.) Are they comfortable with the wide receivers group?

Like last year, this is another deep wide receiver class. The Seahawks took Freddie Swain in the 6th round in 2020 but otherwise that was the extent of their WR improvement. This year they have not signed any receivers in free agency and lost David Moore and... well I suppose they “lost” Philip Dorsett but he never played a down in Seattle, so that’s no big deal.

Seattle had reported interest in Antonio Brown and Marquise Goodwin, but Brown stayed with the Buccaneers and Goodwin signed with the Chicago Bears. The available receivers in free agency apart from Golden Tate and Tim Patrick are uninspiring. If Seattle doesn’t look at any wideouts in the draft, then I think it’s safe to assume that they are content with the Tyler Lockett-DK Metcalf-Freddie Swain trio and that WR4 is likely to go to camp fodder and practice squad members (e.g. John Ursua, Cody Thompson, Penny Hart, etc.)

4.) KJ Wright remains unsigned, will the Seahawks invest in linebacker again?

Jordyn Brooks was an unexpected pick at the time, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense to have selected him. Seattle’s linebacker depth has been a problem for years and now that both Wright and Bobby Wagner are on the other side of 30, it’s only logical to plan for replacements. Wright is a free agent still and as outlined by Frank T. Raines, the Seahawks’ current crop of LBs beneath the Wright/Wagner/Brooks triumvirate is uninspiring to say the least.

Ben Burr-Kirven features on special teams almost exclusively, whereas Cody Barton’s starts have been... an adventure, to say the least. He is a special teams standout so his roster spot is safe and perhaps he can improve.

What the Seahawks do (or don’t do) in the draft at the linebacker position should give us a hint as to whether we’ll see Wright back on the team. And with Wagner’s contract fast approaching expiration after 2022 they may look at linebackers regardless of what happens with KJ.

With the surplus of talent on the defensive line we may see Benson Mayowa do a position switch, although I’m skeptical this will materialize.

5.) Is there a Duane Brown replacement in the works?

Duane Brown has been a great addition to the Seahawks offensive line since he was acquired in 2017 via trade. He’s also going to be 36 years old in August and spent a lot of last season battling a knee injury and thus often had limited practice time.

None of Jamarco Jones, Brandon Shell, or Cedric Ogbuehi is the heir apparent to Mr. Brown. I know there’s interest in finding competition at center for Ethan Pocic but I’m far more concerned long term about the left tackle position.

6.) Will Pete Carroll’s draft clues be any easier or harder than years past, and will any of you get them correct?

It’s not impossible!