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Seahawks take a pair of star Iowa defensive players early in ESPN’s seven-round mock draft

This NFL mock draft also has the Seahawks taking Jalen Carter at 5th.

Kent State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

We’ve got a fresh (paywalled) mock draft from ESPN, and this one is real deep because it goes from the first pick all the way to Mr. Irrelevant. Jordan Reid did the leg work on this and thankfully didn’t do anything outlandish like have the Seattle Seahawks take Hendon Hooker at No. 5.

Reid has Jalen Carter going to the Seahawks at 5th overall, and frankly this is not a story to me anymore. We’ll see if his stock is affected by whatever “character concerns” are floating around, to go along with an uninspiring Pro Day. Perhaps the tape will win out in the end and he’ll remain in the top-5. Here’s Reid’s breakdown:

Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

Carter’s stock has dropped over the past two months because of off-field issues, including misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing for his alleged role in a Jan. 15 car wreck. Still, speaking to scouts after Georgia’s recent pro day — where Carter struggled — each mentioned they expect Carter to be a top-10 pick. His game film shows he’s arguably the top prospect in the entire class, although teams have continued to do their homework on him. Carter could land in an ideal situation in Seattle, which lacks talent along the defensive line. He has the potential to be the centerpiece as a 3-technique in the Seahawks’ defensive front.

Will Anderson and Anthony Richardson are obviously off the board, by the way.

Let’s get to the 20th overall pick, which stays in the trenches but goes with Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness.

Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa

The Seahawks are always the most unpredictable team in the draft because of their unique board and views on positional value. Their needs going into April are clear, however. They have to improve in the trenches. That’s why I’m projecting them to take defensive tackle Jalen Carter at No. 5 overall, and that’s why I’m giving them raw power rusher Van Ness, who fits the prototype of previous Seattle draft picks. Van Ness is still in the early stages of his development — he played in 27 games for the Hawkeyes but never started a game. The Seahawks relied too much on 35-year-old Bruce Irvin last season and must find younger options to generate pressure. Van Ness would bring that type of potential.

Next up, Seattle goes offense with the 37th overall pick, but they take one of the top centers in this year’s class in John Michael Schmitz. Evan Brown might be signed but Schmitz can be the long-term answer at the position the Seahawks have been looking for.

John Michael Schmitz, IOL, Minnesota

Schmitz is the exact type of center the Seahawks need. They have been struggling to find consistency at the position, but he’s a plug-and-play center with the upside to be a high-level starter. Seattle should continue its model of putting resources into the trenches.

With their native second-round pick at 52nd overall, Seattle goes back to Iowa for linebacker help in the form of Jack Campbell.

Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Despite the return of veteran Bobby Wagner on a one-year deal, Campbell would provide a succession plan for the Seattle defense. His instincts, aggression as a run defender and feel in coverage would make for a promising young option behind the Seahawks legend.

And to wrap up Day 2 at 83rd overall, cornerback help in the form of Stanford’s Kyn Blu Kelly.

Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford

The emergence of rookies Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant propelled the Seahawks’ defense to exciting heights last season. Kelly, who started 34 games for the Cardinal, could compete for the CB3 spot with Mike Jackson and Tre Brown.

Do you want to feel really old? His dad is former cornerback Brian Kelly, who was part of that legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that led them to a Super Bowl win in 2002. The elder Kelly tied for the league lead in interceptions that year. Kyn Blu Kelly recorded 23 passes defensed and three interceptions in four seasons. At 6’1” and 190 lbs he fits the mold of a typical Seahawks corner, but this line in the scouting report terrifies me and gives me Kelly Jennings flashbacks:

“Rarely turns to find the football once back is to the quarterback.”

Four of five picks on Day 1 and Day 2 spent on defense. The rest of Reid’s Seahawks mock has Seattle getting some skill position players, including a quarterback.

Rest of the picks:

Round 4 - Parker Washington, WR, Penn State

Round 5 - Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

Round 5 - Colby Wooden, iDL, Auburn

Round 6 - Khalan Laborn, RB, Marshall

Round 7 - Isaiah Land, EDGE, Florida A&M

How are we feeling about this mock draft? Too defense heavy? Not the players you’re eyeing the most? Not taking a quarterback in Round 1? Lack of Hendon Hooker? None of this matters because there is zero chance any of these mock drafts go as intended, it’s all just a “what-if?” exercise that also generates a ton of pageviews across the land.