The SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is back again, and this is a busy one because the Seattle Seahawks have four picks to make over the opening two rounds.
Last year, I thought the Seahawks would “reach” by taking Northern Iowa left tackle Trevor Penning, an unrefined mauler known for his run blocking and who would’ve otherwise been a pretty wacky pick at No. 9. I didn’t envision Seattle taking Charles Cross because of his lack of run blocking reps. Passin’ Pete Carroll set me straight, although Penning missing much of his rookie season with injury would’ve made him a perfect Seahawks rookie.
This year I’m doing a mix of “what I would do” and “what I think Pete Carroll and John Schneider would do.”
First things first: C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Anderson, and Anthony Richardson went 1-2-3-4. Now the Seahawks are on the clock.
Personally? I would strongly consider trading down from No. 5. But I suspect Seattle will try to trade down from 20, but they’re going to keep No. 5. Had Will Anderson or Anthony Richardson been available I would’ve gone for one of them. Jalen Carter may be the best defensive player of the draft and I certainly was high on his skills, but there’s been quite a bit going on the last couple of months that makes me believe Seattle will not pick him. Usually I roll my eyes at the “character concerns” talk but the Seahawks may not want another Malik McDowell situation to happen to them. Yell at me in the comments or on Twitter all you want about not taking the obvious pick on defense, but this is just all in good fun!
Absent a quarterback, fixing the trenches on the defensive side of the ball remains Seattle’s top priority. Myles Murphy is a viable option here but I don’t know about taking him that high up. That means it’s Tyree Wilson time, someone whom I like as a prospect even if it may be somewhat of a reach to get him at No. 5.
Measurable Stats (NFL Combine, did not participate in drills)
Weight: 271 lbs.
Arm Length: 35 5/8”
Hand: 9 5/8”
Wilson is still far from a finished product. At his size, he can still be more consistent with his leverage acquisition and management, and his hand usage also remains a work in progress. That said, Wilson is trending up in both areas, and as long as he can keep driving his power effectively and keep employing hand combinations with greater speed and consistency, he has game-wrecking potential.
Wilson’s game revolves around a domineering physical profile that features hyper-elite size, length, and power output. That overwhelming power gives Wilson a consistent edge in contact situations. But beyond that, Wilson also has stellar explosive capacity, violent hands, a relentless motor, surprising bend and ankle flexion, and the strength to hold the edge in run defense.
With his burst, power, play strength, and aggression, Wilson has enormous upside in 3- and 4-point stances, and he can even generate speed-to-power in 2-point stances from wider alignments. He can be a multi-phase destroyer at defensive end with vast alignment versatility, and his physical build grants him a blue-chip ceiling.
Strengths (via NFL Draft Buzz)
—He’s ready for the physicality of the NFL; Wilson has a stout build, strong core and powerful limbs to step in right away as a three-down player.
—Elite arm length and large wingspan - Quick to use his length and engage blockers
—He’s flexible enough to bend the edge, and he’s at his best when he can use his quickness and change-of-direction abilities to counter back inside.
—Adequate change-of-direction agility and straight-line speed to contain.
—Great strength in shedding offensive linemen with ease
—Able to use momentum, size and speed to knock back linemen
—Highly athletic to be able to chase down plays backside
—Can get a great start at the snap and converts size and speed into power
—Strong tackler, rarely misses tackles
—As a pass rusher, he shows quickness off the line and has the fluid athleticism and flexibility to bend the edge.
—High-effort, thickly built defender with good strength and the leverage to create a pile. Locates_ the ball quickly and pursues with passion, showing_ good lateral agility while extending the play to the sideline.
—A savvy, versatile, and instinctive edge rusher who did a little bit of everything, he was especially effective getting to the quarterback.
—Able to play as a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker - classic edge
—Explosive first step and long striding
—Athletic mismatch against guards
—Play strength to play through contact and has impressive strong hands
Weaknesses (via NFL Draft Buzz)
—While Wilson was able to physically overpower opponents at the college, he will have to develop a wider repertoire of moves in the pros.
—Not a natural bender and lacks fluid change-of-direction ability. Plays with inconsistent pad level and is often knocked backward off the snap.
—Not explosive as a pass rusher or run defender. Lacks elite speed and flexibility to turn the corner and is late off the snap.
—He lacks the quickness to consistently make impact plays rushing the quarterback
—Does not consistently show the agility to move in tight spaces to get to the quarterback
—Doesn’t display the hand-eye coordination to use his hands effectively to shed blockers
—Inability to effectively seal on run plays
Why the Seahawks might draft him
They need defensive linemen, dammit!
Seriously! They let go of Shelby Harris, Al Woods, Quinton Jefferson, and (thus far) haven’t re-signed Poona Ford. Their only defensive linemen are Myles Adams, Bryan Mone (out with a torn ACL), Jarrod Hewitt, Dre’Mont Jones, and Jarran Reed.
They’re not short on outside linebackers (e.g. Darrell Taylor, Boye Mafe, Uchenna Nwosu) but I don’t think Wilson best projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I can’t imagine being this thin along the defensive line and not using at least one first-round pick at that position.
Seattle’s run defense was 25th in DVOA last season, and while some of that may very well be schematic, it’s hard to ignore that Darrell Taylor got benched for waiver wire pickup Darryl Johnson Jr.—almost entirely because Taylor was not playing the run well. I firmly believe that while the Seahawks picked up Dre’Mont Jones to be a standout interior pass rusher, one of their other primary goals is fixing the hell out of a broken run defense that cost them literally every NFC South game in 2022. Versatility forever remains a plus for Carroll and Schneider.
Why the Seahawks might not draft him
Need for speed
The tape on Wilson makes it abundantly clear that he lacks a trait that Carroll and Schneider love in their pass rushers: a lightning-quick first step off the snap to have the tackle at a disadvantage. This was one of the many problems that resulted in L.J. Collier being a bust in Seattle. Wilson wins with power more than the type of speed that Cliff Avril was known for. I love Cliff, but I’ve grown very tired of the Seahawks trying to find the next Cliff Avril.
The great unknown
Wilson also ended his college career with a serious foot injury, which meant he didn’t participate in the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine drills, or his Pro Day. A lack of testing means a lack of non-film information, creating some level of mystery. Of course, taking an injured player who didn’t do any pre-draft testing didn’t dissuade them from taking Darrell Taylor in the second round, but it may be enough for them to consider it too risky to take someone in the top 10.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Wilson at +450 to be selected at No. 5. Only Will Anderson and Jalen Carter have better odds to land with the Seahawks at that spot.
Wilson isn’t my first choice. He’s not my second choice. But he’s among my top choices at the fifth overall pick. The Seahawks need young talent on the defensive line, and above all else they need players in the trenches who are physically strong, which I suspect has been a major problem for Seattle in their preference for speed over power. Wilson is one of those players who fits the bill of addressing multiple areas of need, hence he’s my choice.
Our mock draft is not over yet! John Gilbert is assisting me on Seattle’s other first-round pick, so you’ll get his viewpoint in a week or so, and then we’ll have something on the second-round picks as well.
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