Mariners post-draft thoughts

By Jared Stanger

The Mariners finished their 2021 draft on Tuesday after selecting 20 new players. From that group they ended up with three coming from high school, two coming from junior college, and 15 from four-year colleges. They drafted three catchers, three shortstops, three outfielders, one third-baseman, and ten pitchers (all right-handed).

As I watched the picks being made, and even more so looking at them deeper in hindsight, there is something odd about this draft. And it’s more than just the obvious: that they drafted three high school players in the first three rounds, after being college-heavy to the extreme in the first six years under Jerry Dipoto. I’ve been advocating for them to be more considerate of HS players for years now, but in hindsight of this draft, plus the HS picks from the prior 4-5 years, they may simply not be good at evaluating prep talent.

M’s recent top 10 round players drafted from high school:

Michael Limoncelli in rookie ball: 1.80 ERA but 1.80 WHIP with 10 BB to 8 SO.
Adam Macko in rookie ball: 5.96 ERA, 1.632 WHIP, 6.0 BB/9.
Sam Carlson in low A ball: 4.68 ERA, 1.620 WHIP, 5.9 BB/9.
Jorge Benitez in low A ball: 5.13 ERA, 1.633 WHIP, 6.8 BB/9.
Joe Rizzo in AA ball: .216/.310/.687
Nick Neidert: Traded, made MLB
Dylan Thompson: Traded, retired 2017
Cody Mobley: retired 2018

Another thing that quickly showed up this year was the way Seattle didn’t draft anyone that was ranked in the top 250 players from this cycle after the 4th round. In theory, every pick from round 1 through 8 can be from the top 250 without any unusual circumstances as there are 252 picks total for all teams in those rounds.

We may find, once the draftpicks are all signed, that Seattle had to go overslot for their three HS picks in rounds 1-3, which could have forced them to start looking for underslot players starting earlier this year than usual. This could be an explanation for the lack of consensus top 250 guys they chose. I think it’d be a bit of a copout, as you should be able to get both underslot and top 250 in one or two more picks rounds 5-10.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly strange about the college hitters they drafted. I look at them as a group and there’s a pretty consistent theme: average power (to a man they hit between 8 and 12 homeruns this year), with very solid plate discipline (an average of 11.8 BB% to 15.4 SO%, with the worst SO rate being 22%), and every single bat posting at least 30% extra-basehit rate.

So what is the unusual part of this draft class? It’s the pitchers. There is a striking randomness to this grouping of arms. There’s no heavy preference for starter vs reliever. There’s no pattern of picking guys with high K-rates. They aren’t generally consistent strike-throwers with high control. You could suspect there’s an element of pitching analytics at play (spin rate, velo, extension, flat vertical approach, etc), but in the past they looked for those things PLUS many of these other result-based metrics. Why punt on those elements now when they’ve been part of the formula up till now? That doesn’t track.

If you really look at this group of 2021 pitching draftees; the biggest commonality between these guys is……almost every single pitcher was a better performer in 2020 than they were in 2021.

Could it be possible the team decided to direct a majority of their 2021 scouting visits to focus on finding bats, while trusting more of their scouting reports on pitchers from the 2020 cycle??

This becomes more interesting in light of two things: 1) Seattle’s heavy drafting of more pitching than hitting from 2018-2020, 2) the carryover in scouting restrictions from COVID from mid-2020 college season to this year.

In addition to asking “what” was different about this draft cycle, I think it’s important to ask “why”. Why would they change how they scouted and drafted pitchers when they’ve been pretty successful doing it these last few years? One possible answer is that they didn’t. If you change the “when” of scouting these pitchers, the “what” actually looks less unusual.

I still don’t think any of the reasoning I’ve laid out here is an acceptable excuse for putting together a poor draft. Which I think three-four years from now we will all see this class as being. I’ve generally been pretty happy with the Jerry Dipoto era draft classes, and the farm system has been well-regarded since those collective classes. But I have my doubts this year. There are some obvious changes they made this year, and I suspect some unobvious changes, which also means it changes the assumptions and expectations we have that they will succeed.

Mariners 20 round mock

By Jared Stanger

Last week I didn’t think I’d be doing another one of these, but fuck it…let’s do all 20 rounds.

Actually, we have gotten some new intel to warrant some adjustments in the early rounds. Mariners’ draft showrunner Scott Hunter went in front of the press corps earlier this week for a bit of a pre-draft press conference on the field at TMobile, and he doubled-down on Jerry Dipoto’s previous comments about the M’s going more openly, if not straight up aggressively, after the high school players in this draft.

So, while the NCAA’s recent decision to allow athletes to be compensated for their name/image/likeness has already sent at least a handful of known prep players to formally withdraw their names from the draft (Josh Hartle and Nick Mclain amongst them), and more names may come to be known in the next 24-72 hours, for now we may have a little more comfort and freedom mocking a true best player available draft.

With the floodgates open to drafting prep players in the 1st; my thoughts immediately go to the bat side. With the farm system chock full of the recently drafted college pitchers; there’s a degree of simply going with the odds in thinking it will be a hitter. But there’s also a multiple factor greater number of high school position players to the number of high school pitchers.

I’m still bullish on middle infielder Peyton Stovall. I think he’s got a super high floor, and with his quickly emerging power, I like the upside even more. I’ve read reports connecting Seattle to prep catcher Harry Ford, but I tend to prefer Joe Mack. I feel like catcher is a dangerous spot to draft from before they’ve played in college due to the slow-developing nature of the position in general, so I won’t go with catcher here, but I’m just putting it out there I prefer Mack to Ford.

#1.12 – 2B Peyton Stovall, Haughton HS

A prep shortstop that just looks like a future all star second baseman, to me, with one of the best hit tools in the total class. A recent weight-gain and added muscle turned him into a 15 homerun hitter over the 2021 high school season. Defense looks unspectacular but very reliable. Keep him at short for as long as you can (a la Donnie Walton), but feel no shame when he ends up at 2nd.

My intel has shown me that the 2nd to 3rd round might be the time the M’s are looking hardest at drafting a true shortstop. Certainly, they have done a deep-dive at the position to know the options that could be available if they choose to wait.

If you end up on the clock with some mix of Alex Mooney, Carson Williams, Max Muncy, Edwin Arroyo, Noah Miller; they may pull the trigger on the highest-ranked of those names on their board. Both Jerry and Scott have alluded to the athleticism of this high school class, and the previously mentioned group includes switch-hitters, two-way players, and multi-sport athletes.

So it’s tough to walk away from that group. Especially Carson Williams. But I just have other plans.

#2.48 – RHP Jackson Baumeister, Bolles HS

Again, if we’re talking athleticism…Baumeister is a pretty recently converted catching prospect of some regard, that is now focusing more and more on the mound. He’s 6’3″/215lbs with insanely clean mechanics for a guy still relatively new to pitching. His stuff is presently fastball up to 96mph, but sitting more 94, solid curve and quickly evolving change. Pitchability-wise, he’s super efficient, throws a ton of strikes. And there’s still more growth to come with a fulltime pitching commitment.

The other guy in this slot that I recently came to consciously recognize checks a lot of boxes for the M’s last three years worth of draft profiles is Florida righty Tommy Mace. He’s 6’6″/215 with elite extension and strike-throwing. I basically just stopped tracking him because he had a bad ERA (4.38). But the rest of the peripherals are there: 1.24 WHIP, 11.26 SO/9, 2.09 BB/9. I liken him to a righthanded version of 2019 2nd rounder Brandon Williamson, who is already in AA after 15 pro starts.

This is also a great spot to draft from a handful of college lefties. Actually, this is a hard spot to mock draft because of the depth available. But simultaneously that means it will be a great spot to draft in reality. Gonna be plenty to choose from.

#3.83 – OF Malakhi Knight, Marysville-Getchell HS

Knight is a new consideration to my mock drafts. Again, we’re going back to some of the things Jerry Dipoto said recently about athleticism, but also about this draft’s depth. The exact quote, “we approach it as ‘take the best available player with the athletic upside, the potential in the top 100 picks'”. So not only is there a ‘what’ to that quote, there’s a ‘when’. Now, the quote requires some interpretation as what is the definition of ‘top 100 picks’ when your team drafts at #83 and then again at #113, and undoubtedly some from your team’s top 100 board will still be there when you’re back on the clock at #113. But I digress…

Malakhi seems easily the smoothest outfield athlete I’ve seen from this class. He’s 6’3″/195lbs, with a powerful righthanded swing. Look at him switch gears to stretch this hit from Friday night into a triple:

#4.113 – LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

This is a very strong class of LHP, especially the college group, but this is probably the latest you want to wait to get one that has around 3rd starter potential. Webb is, to me, very Marco Gonzales-esque. Similar build, similar stuff (Webb maybe a bit more velo), and similar leadership qualities.

#5.144 – SS Gavin Conticello, Stoneman Douglas HS

There’s plenty of question of where Conticello’s glove will end up, but I liked what I saw from him at the MLB Combine when he was playing shortstop. I’d leave him there for now. But he’s a 6’4″/195lb kid, so it is possible he ends up at either a corner infield, or maybe even outfield in time. Certainly the hard-swinging, rotational swing is reminiscent of LHH outfielders like Cody Bellinger and Bryce Harper. That’s what you hope for here.

#6.174 – 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

After going hard on prep players through five rounds, we’ve now reached the college portion of the draft where we have to include considerations of budgeting to be able to sign the HS group. Tirotta is a 6’3″/195lb, senior out of Dayton that hit 16 homers and stole 14 bases over 51 games this year. 31 of his 61 hits went for extra bases.

#7.204 – RHP Gordon Graceffo, Villanova

Graceffo is a 6’4″/210lb righty that has posted sub-1.60 ERA across the last two college seasons, and who ticked his strikeout numbers up to 9.44 per nine this year while maintaining very low walk rate. The fastball is up to 95mph, with a promising changeup.

#8.234 – 2B Jackson Glenn, Dallas Baptist

Glenn is a very well-tooled player that put together an exceptional 2021 with 21 HR, 19 2B, 2 3B, 13 SB, 32 BB to 33 SO, but is dropping in this draft because he’s 23 years old. I really dig this crop of college 2B, and getting Glenn in the 8th is tremendous value.

#9.264 – C Andy Thomas, Baylor

A consistent name amongst my mock drafts, Thomas is a sound catch/throw receiver with enough bat upside to be a sneaky value late in the end of day 2 of the draft. Very solidly built at 6’2″/210lbs, he hit .337/.411/.986 in 2021 while catching 46% of would-be basestealers. He was also one of three finalists for the Buster Posey Award for college catchers.

#10.294 – RHP Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss

The 10th round has frequently been a senior-signing, college relief pitcher for Hunter/Dipoto drafts. Kind of an easy way to save money towards the bonus pool while getting a useful roster piece. Broadway was one of college baseball’s best closers in 2021, and as a 24 year old he shouldn’t cost much, but bring 7.33 SO/BB out of the ‘pen.

#11.324 – LHP Caden Vire, Skyview HS

The early picks of day three of most Hunter drafts have often been overslot players that you’re taking a bit of a risk on signability, while not risking losing funds from your overall bonus pool. Vire is an interesting, local prep pitcher from near Vancouver, WA that stands 6’6″ but skinny, who is only presently topping out around 91mph, but with tons of projection still remaining. If you can sign him away from his ASU commitment, he could be a very fun project to track over the next 3-4 years.

#12.354 – RHP Aaron Brown, MTSU

Brown is a 6’4″/220lb former Vanderbilt recruit that posted a 0.96 WHIP and 11.87 SO/9 this year. Just need to cut down his homeruns allowed.

#13.384 – 1B Griffin Doersching, Northern Kentucky

Doersching is a massive human of a first baseman. 6’4″/250lbs and I think that might be AFTER he cut weight. Power is his carrying tool, though I also note how improved his plate discipline was in 2021, walking 50 times to 34 strikeouts.

#14.414 – OF Jonny Butler, NC State

Butler was the best scoring player in my analysis of the college class of bats. Just a very well-rounded player that goes B- to B+ across all categories.

#15.444 – LHP Rob Hensey, Monmouth

Hensey is a 6’4″/210lb southpaw that posted a 1.54 ERA, 0.878 WHIP over 41.0 innings this year. He starts with a great frame, clean mechanics, and then you try to develop him a little bit.

#16.474 – RHP Elliott Carney, Wofford

Carney is another local product, but he also worked to a 2021 season line of 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.94 SO/9, 2.25 BB/9, and a no-hitter.

#17.504 – C Wyatt Hendrie, San Diego State

Most drafts you’ll try to come away with a couple catchers. Hendrie posts a nice mix of bat and athleticism. He hit .379/.464/1.097 with a very low strikeout rate. He was the third Buster Posey Award finalist behind Mat Nelson, and the aforementioned Andy Thomas.

#18.534 – RHP Luke Boyd, Baylor

Boyd is a fifth-year senior who posted 14 saves and an ERA of 1.18 and 13.97 SO/9 combined over the last two years. With his nasty slider, could be very quick to the show.

#19.564 – LHP Parker Harm, North Dakota State

Similar profile to Boyd, but from the lefthand side. Harm is a fifth-year guy that had 12 saves, 1.70 ERA, and 15.08 SO/9 this year.

#20.594 – 2B Jace Mercer, Cincinnati

Mercer is sort of the back end of this 2B class that I really like. He was a finalist for the college 2B Gold Glove award and he stole 22 bases over 53 games this year. Also a switch hitter.

Full recap of the full 20 rounds:

1- IF Peyton Stovall
2- RHP Jackson Baumeister
3- OF Malaki Knight
4- LHP Ryan Webb
5- IF Gavin Conticello
6- IF Riley Tirotta
7- RHP Gordon Graceffo
8- IF Jackson Glenn
9- C Andy Thomas
10- RHP Taylor Broadway
11- LHP Caden Vire
12- RHP Aaron Brown
13- IF Griffin Doersching
14- OF Jonny Butler
15- LHP Rob Hensy
16- RHP Elliot Carney
17- C Wyatt Hendrie
18- RHP Luke Boyd
19- LHP Parker Harm
20- IF Jace Mercer

Mariners Mock Draft 3

By Jared Stanger

We’re down to one week until the first day of the 2021 MLB Draft, and I’m doing another mock draft because we’ve had some new developments. The NCAA via the Supreme Court recently declared athletes can make money using their Name, Image, Likeness (NIL). It’s a long-overdue change, but the side-effects will be widespread and some slow-to-be-revealed.

There may be a change in how eager college athletes are to declare for their respective drafts. But, as one of the sports still allowed to draft prospects directly from high school, baseball will have to quickly discover on the fly how many (more) high school players will decide to actually GO to college in lieu of signing to their drafting team now. In other words; this prep class will be the first ever to be able to choose making money while going to the SEC, or making money while going to the Grapefruit League. And then there will be some more specific niches within the draft where those choices will tend to differ.

One would tend to think most prep players will still be swayed from their college commitment by being offered “first round bonus” money, but there are always instances like Jack Leiter a couple years ago where a player truly wants to get a chance to live the college experience. And now they get that plus don’t have to live off top ramen and PBnJ sandwiches.

I have yet to see anyone acknowledge that the NIL change may shake up the pretty consensus top 8 of this draft class, which contains five HS athletes on most boards. If one or two of those players now feel more inclined to go to college; you no longer need 4 “upsets” for one of the top 8 to fall to you; you’d then need 5-6 upsets. Then the ensuing dominos falling could also move some of the players in the 10-15 range that you were counting on being available will no longer last.

So the safest strategy, and something I’ve been pondering for weeks, could be to plan to overdraft and underslot. Money saved in the 1st round could be even more important this year as you attempt to pull prep players in rounds 2-5 away from their college commitments.

Now, when looking at the reports trickling out about the Mariners draft intentions, which are already limited…Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter are rumored to once again be focusing on college players. But this year they are supposedly hyper-focusing on college position players. Do we think those reports are based in fact? Do we think the draft will fall in a way in which a bat that matches the value will still be there, and they won’t force a bat with a reach player? If they can’t find a player that is both from college and a bat; would they prioritize the “college” part or the “bat” part more? Aka…would their first pivot be to college pitcher, or to high school bat?

Because of all the collective thinking I’ve talked about leading up to this; I’m going to pivot to a college pitcher over a prep hitter, even though my personal preference would be to draft HS infielder Peyton Stovall over anybody.

#1.12 – RHP Gavin Williams, ECU

I tend to think that the third-best college RHP after the two from Vanderbilt is Gavin Williams. Not Ty Madden, not Ryan Cusick, not either of the Tommy John guys. I just like his profile, and suspect he fits more into what Jerry looks for, more than any of the others. The guy is 6’6″ throwing 99mph, has plus secondary offerings, and throws a LOT of strikes.

Then, on top of that, I see Williams’ lesser projection of late-1st round, and his redshirt Junior class status, as opportunities to get a better talent with less negotiating power, therefore being able to sign him for an underslot price.

The slot allowance for this pick is $4,366,400 and Williams’ projection is generally 10-20 picks later than #12. Even if you sign him for slot #17 money; you save $750,000. That equates to an additional third round value/signing (or overslotting multiple of your existing picks a combined total of $750k).

Is Williams the “best player available” at #12? Not according to the media. But will he be better than the guys the media like at #12? I think so. And then it’s just a wait and see who is more right.

Having “missed” on the college bat in the 1st round; I’m going to proceed to overcompensate in the next several rounds.

#2.48 – 2B Tyler Black, Wright State

After not getting the guy I could see becoming a mainstay at 2B, Stovall, in the 1st; I’m thinking about adding a stud college 2B in the 2nd. I really like this class of college 2B: Connor Norby, Jackson Glenn, Max Ferguson, Tyler McDonough, etc. Black fits really well the position player metric I created to study this year’s bats. He hit .383/.496/1.179 with 13 HR, 59 RBI, and 39 walks.

Under the Covid rules; he is a redshirt Sophomore with multiple years of eligibility remaining, so it may take full slot value of $1,543,600 to get him to sign. But we should be okay to do that.

#3.83 – SS Gavin Conticello, Stoneman Douglas HS

I think you have to be very selective this year with any and all prep players you draft. But I also think it’s important to pull something from this very exciting overall class of HS shortstops. So my foray into that element of the class comes in the form of the 6’4″/195lb Conticello. His college commitment is to South Florida which hopefully won’t be as hard to sign away from as some of the other players committed to, say, SEC/Pac12 schools.

In addition to my deep dives into this year’s college bats and college pitchers; I also attempted a deeper(ish) dive into this year’s prep shortstops. Just trying to come up with a uniform way to analyze traits. Gavin was one of the top five performers (after the 1st round names).

#4.113 – LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

There are a few places that this draft is very strong. One is HS shortstops, one is college second basemen, and the third is lefthanded pitching (both college and prep). Hence, part of the reason this mock has gone the way that it has.

Webb is the third name on my LHP priority list, but the only one in the top 3 that is still available this late. In a funny way, you draft this Bulldog to eventually replace our current Bulldog, Marco Gonzales. Plus, the farm already has Emerson Hancock and Tim Elliott from Georgia. Webb should be a quality 3rd starter all day.

#5.144 – 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

I’ve been fairly consistent in finding a place to draft Tirotta. It’s him or redrafting former M’s draftpick Christian Encarnacion-Strand to play 3B. I’m going with Tirotta because of the better overall athleticism.

#6.174 – 1B Griffin Doersching, Northern Kentucky

Doersching brings a few things this mock, and the farm system, really needs: some righthanded first base power. And THAT Griffin has in spades. He’s 6’4″/250lbs and won the 2019 College HR Derby. In 2021 he added 20 homers and an impressive 50 walks to 34 strikeouts. So, in addition to the power, there is some plate discipline to him as well.

#7.204 – RHP Daniel Brooks, Bishop England HS

Seventh round is hopefully late enough to draft the always-volatile prep RHP category. In 2019 Seattle drafted prep RHP Mikey Limoncelli and prep LHP Adam Macko back to back in the 6th-7th.

Brooks is a 6’8″/239lb righty with commitment to the College of Charleston. His fastball is currently sitting 95mph and touching 97-98 with high spin, and a really nasty slider. I really like his strong lower half. I could see him getting up to 99-100 in a couple more years. They got Limoncelli to sign for $500k in 2019, so I’d look to pay Brooks similarly overslot.

#8.234 – C Andy Thomas, Baylor

Thomas is a fifth-year senior with good receiving skills and a solid bat. He hit .337/.411/.986 with 11 homeruns, and threw out 46% of would-be base-stealers in 2021. He was also a finalist for the Buster Posey Award for college catchers. Draft for the glove and hope the bat develops.

#9.264 – OF Jonny Butler, NC State

In the analysis I did of college hitters, Butler actually came out as the highest scoring player outside of first round projected bats. He’s a well-rounded athlete that knows how to get on-base, has a little pop, a little speed, and a little defense.

#10.294 – RHP Aaron Brown, Middle Tennessee

In theory, this should probably be a relief pitcher, but having gone 2 to 1 bats to arms so far, we could probably use another starter.

Brown is a guy that scored very well in my study of college pitchers. He’s a 6’4″/220lb former Vanderbilt recruit that posted a 3.99 ERA in 2021 primarily due to an unfortunate number of homeruns allowed (13). I don’t have access to college ballpark tendancies, so I’m not sure if that is park-related. But everything else in Brown’s line looks like the kind of pitcher Scott Hunter targets. He’s a redshirt junior by eligibility, but he’s 22 years old and should sign at senior rate.

#11. 324 – OF John Thrasher, Hartford

Thrasher is a consistent target of mine throughout this draft season. He’s the ideal profile for an eventual 4th-outfielder at the major league level. He was one of the best base-stealers in the country this year, and the bat and glove both appear to be useful. I’d like to see him walk a bit more, but he doesn’t really strikeout much either. Very contact-oriented. Thrasher is a redshirt junior, so he should sign at senior rate.

#12.354 – LHP Caden Vire, Skyview HS

We’ve seen the M’s crew go prep pitcher multiple times in rounds 11-16 over the last handful of drafts. Damon Casetta Stubbs, Holden Laws, Anthony Tomczak. Each of those instances they signed him for over slot money. So it will take some maneuvering rounds 1-10 to be able to afford him.

#13. 384 – RHP Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss

Broadway is an undersized, overaged reliever for the Rebels. He had the second-most saves in the country this year. You should be able to get him for low money as he’s already 24 years old. This could easily be your 10th round pick to save bonus money for, say, Vire.

#14.414 – RHP Elliot Carney, Wofford

Carney is a 23 year old redshirt senior originally out of Sammamish who pitched extremely well in 2021: 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.94 SO/9. He also threw a no-hitter. Should be a guy that will progress through your system a la Darren McCaughan.

#15.444 – LHP Parker Harm, North Dakota State

Solid lefty bullpen arm with experience closing. 12 saves this year and a 1.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 15.08 SO/9. Very difficult arm angle is death to lefthanded hitters. Fifth-year senior could also be another candidate for that 10th round bonus-saver pick.

Mariners draft: college bats

By Jared Stanger

Last week I wrote about the college pitchers with some, what I think is, good feel for the type of analysis that leads to the kinds of arms that Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter look for in the MLB Draft. This week I’m writing on the college position players with far less of a connection to how Seattle drafts them. I’ve had some success predicting eventual M’s picks, but it has never been a singular formula. I didn’t look for the same traits in Cal Raleigh that I looked for in Braden Bishop in their respective years when Seattle drafted them.

This year I’m trying something new, and trying to create a more consistent design of how I’m looking for draft talent across the whole diamond. Primarily to see how well it may recognize eventual MLB talent, but hopefully also to see if it works to isolate how the M’s look for talent that hits. These are my inaugural finds:

C – Andy Thomas, Baylor

Thomas is a 6’2″/210lb backstop that hit .337/.411/.986 with 11 HR, 60 RBI, and a very solid 45.9% caught stealing rate. He hits lefty and throws righty. He’s a 5th year senior that should be available in later rounds at very affordable signing bonus figure.

1B – Griffin Doersching, Northern Kentucky

Doersching is a mountain of a man at 6’4″/250lbs. He may best be remembered as the winner of the 2019 college homerun derby. Power is clearly his carrying tool after hitting .316/.488/1.260 with 20 HR and 48 RBI this year. As I looked over his multi-year progression in college, I found myself impressed with a couple things: 1) the way he’s transformed his body from kind of a chubby, baby-fat looking kid, to a really built grown-ass man, and 2) the way he’s improved his plate discipline. Griffin’s 2021 walk rate of 23.7% was almost double that of his previous career high.

The swing reminds me a bit of Mark McGwire. The drip reminds me of Brian Bosworth. Have fun, folks.

2B – Jackson Glenn, Dallas Baptist

Second Base is lowkey very strong this year. In fact this was the hardest position to choose a single winner for this story. I had Cincinnati 2B Jace Mercer in a virtual tie for the win here with higher marks for his defense, but eventually chose Glenn for his better power. But it’s worth noting Mercer, nonetheless, as Glenn may be too pricey to secure.

Glenn is a thickly built 5’11″/225lb purveyor of the keystone position. He hit .366/.438/1.169 with 21 HR, 55 RBI and a very stout 42 extra base hits for the year.

3B – Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Oklahoma State

Third base might be polar opposite from second across this draft class. There really wasn’t anyone that scored well across all tools. Each seemed to have a glaring flaw of one kind or another. CES is the pick from the objectivity of this analysis, but I would probably still prefer to draft Riley Tirotta over him in reality.

Encarnacion is listed at 6’1″/215lbs, but honestly looks a bit bigger to the eye. He hit .361/.442/1.103 with 15 HR and 66 RBI for the year. It’s also worth noting that Seattle drafted him out of high school in 2019.

SS – Trey Sweeney, Eastern Illinois

Shortstop was another disappointing position for the college ranks. Sweeney scored very high himself, but there really wasn’t anyone close behind him. But in terms of big picture, this is a pretty special class of prep SS, so there could be that with proper planning.

Sweeney is a 6’4″/185lb college SS, that hit .382/.522/1.234 with 14 HR, 58 RBI, and a breathtaking 46 walks to 24 strikeouts. Most draft media believe the league will move him off of short, but for the record, Sweeney’s fielding percentage of .975 was higher than, for example, top 15 projected SS Matt McLain.

RF – Kyle Battle, Old Dominion

Battle is a 6’1″/190lb outfielder that exploded onto the draft scene in 2021 by hitting 18 HR, with 61 RBI, .322/.461/1.149 after hitting only 9 homeruns in his first four years COMBINED. He also posted 54 walks this year. His swing lowkey reminds me of Kyle Lewis.

CF – John Thrasher, Hartford

Thrasher is a very athletic 6’2″/190lbs CF who hit .369/.470/1.150 with 7 HR, 23 RBI, but an elite 37 stolen bases in 36 games. And from what I’ve seen; he plays a quality defensive center. Very good combination of traits and at redshirt junior prices.

LF – Jonny Butler, NC State

Butler was, perhaps, the biggest surprise on this list. Not only for appearing on it, but actually coming in 1st overall for all positions. The charmingly nicknamed Jonny Barrels is a 6’1″/205lb OF who hit .377/.451/1.116 with 13 HR and 48 RBI with quite a few clutch moments for the still-playing College World Series semifinalist Wolfpack.

But the biggest surprise was that Butler hasn’t committed a single error in the field in all of 2021. This guy’s a gamer.

And because sometimes a draft class will double or triple dip at any given position…some of the honorable mentions:

C- Michael Trautwein, Northwestern
SS- Shawn Goosenberg, Northwestern
3B- Riley Tirotta, Dayton
2B- Connor Norby, Eastern Carolina
1B- JT Schwartz, UCLA
OF- Jared Dupere, Northeastern
OF- Mason Mcwhorter, Georgia Southern

MLB Draft: college pitching

By Jared Stanger

The Mariners have used their first round draft pick on a college pitcher in each of their three most-recent drafts. More specifically, they have each been a righthanded college pitcher. The standard talking point for baseball drafts is that you should never draft for need due to the time and uncertainty it takes to develop baseball draftpicks. But you have to suspect there will still, inevitably, be some filtering away from things a team does NOT need.

With that said, a college pitcher may not be their first choice for their first choice, but if they play the strict BPA game; a college pitcher may end up where they end up. Regardless, they will pick college pitchers at some point, and it will probably be two to three times in their first 7-8 picks.

Over the last few years of studying how Jerry Dipoto and his staff draft pitching; I’ve discovered I can isolate a few traits that I suspect they tend to prefer including stats, stuff, and tape study, and I can put together a list of around 12 players I think they’ll like, and I’ll hit between 2-4 names from that list. In 2020 I pulled two, but considering the draft was shrunk to 5 rounds, I still think that was pretty solid.

This story is sort of an expansion on the methodology that went into that tweet last year. But we’ll get into some finer points of when each pitcher could be found.

The prevailing rumor in this year’s draft media is that Seattle prefers a bat in the 1st round. Is that based on actual intel, or is it just the logic of what one does after going pitching for three consecutive years?? I don’t know. When Seattle has been linked to a first round pitcher; I’ve generally seen only two names: Sam Bachman and Michael McGreevy. Bachman just seems to be the pitcher ranked highest on most draftboards at or after where Seattle drafts at #12 (MLB.com has him ranked at #14). McGreevy feels a little more scientific, as he is one of the biggest strike throwers in the country this year, with a profile that reminds me a lot of George Kirby two years ago.

I don’t really like either of these guys due to their mechanics and somewhat limited starting potential. Bachman just looks like a bullpen guy to me (kind of like this year’s Garrett Crochet), and McGreevy looks like a third starter at best if everything goes perfect. I think you need to hunt aces at #12. So the first name on my list goes to ECU righty Gavin Williams.

Williams stands at a very well-built 6’6″/232lbs with strong lower half. His stuff already has him reaching 100mph with his rising fourseam that shows nice armside run, and a full four-pitch mix where all four pitches look at least average. While Gavin isn’t as much of a strike-thrower as McGreevy; he’s been no slouch (Williams 2.32 BB/9 to McGreevy’s 0.97). But Gavin was the harder to hit at 6.31 H/9 to 9.65 H/9 for Michael.

To put a finer point on it: Gavin Williams is the best mix of Bachman’s velo with McGreevy’s strike throwing. Williams was 5th in the country in strikeouts per nine to Bachman’s 7th, and he was 32nd in the country in SO/BB to McGreevy’s 2nd.

MLB lists Williams as their 31st overall player, so Seattle would need to draft him at #12. (This is not a mock draft. This is a projection of the best-fit pitchers at each Mariner draft pick.)

#1.12 – RHP Gavin Williams, ECU

Here’s a really nice video showing Williams repertoire. He’s getting swings and misses on fastball, but also I think on the change and curve:

To my eye, this is an unusually strong class of college lefthanders. Jordan Wicks is the consensus top projected LHP, but he didn’t score high marks on my Mariner metrics. The highest-scoring LHP on my Mariner board is the former Coug, who I’ve had Seattle drafting in each of my mock drafts: Ky Bush.

Bush is a 6’4″/200lb’er with a fastball touching 96mph and already improved control. In 2021 his strikeouts improved to a new best of 12.87 per nine, and he cut his walks by more than half from 5.13 to 2.18 BB/9.

In previous mocks I had him coming to Seattle in a later round, but in their most recent draft board update; MLB has moved Bush all the way up to #66 overall. So M’s would need to snag him at #48.

#2.48 – LHP Ky Bush, St Mary’s

The other high-scoring, highly projected LHP on my list is Matt Mikulski and with good reason. Mikulski led the country in SO/9 with 16.33 per, and hits allowed per nine with 3.82 (just nosing out Jack Leiter at 3.84). The only negative on Mikulski’s profile is his lack of prototypical size. Personally, I think Matt makes up for some of that with very strong down-mound extension. The strength and flexibility in his lower half (seen below) have already helped him to see his fastball tick up to 98mph this year. Mikulski was recently dropped from #43 to #48 on MLB’s board, so a little uncertainty how early you need to draft him.

#2.48 – LHP Matt Mikulski, Fordham

After the 2nd round, there’s a pretty big gap between high-scorer’s on my college pitching ranks. There’s a good solid two rounds where they may be best-served drafting bats before coming back to pitching in the 5th.

In the 5th round; the highest scorer is Stanford RHP Brendan Beck. Beck is a quality, athletic, high-pitchability righty with present velo only touching 93mph, but enough stuff to carry him to a 0.95 WHIP and 11.48 SO/9. His tape reminds me of Mariner 2019 draftpick Isaiah Campbell, with the way he works well down in the zone. He’s not as big or as hard a thrower as Campbell was coming out, but that could combine to allow him to be available later.

You draft him in the 5th and hope you can perk up his fastball with a pro training regimen. MLB has him at #164 overall, and Seattle picks at #144.

#5.144 – RHP Brendan Beck, Stanford

Another pitcher that ranked well in the 5th round range was Georgia lefty Ryan Webb. Sort of like Mikulski, I’d rank Webb higher for Seattle’s potential interest in him if he were bigger. Listed at only 6’1″/196lbs, Webb holds a present fastball that touches 95mph, with very solid H/9 of 6.49 and a quality 12.37 SO/9 even as he got stretched out into a starter from his previous role in the Bulldog ‘pen. Seattle has drafted a Georgia starting pitcher in each of the last two drafts.

MLB has Webb, I think, underrated as their #152 overall player. An SEC lefty that touches 95mph is probably more 3rd round-ish, so this would be great value for a guy reminiscent of a different kind of Bulldog: Marco Gonzales.

#5.144 – LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

Sitting somewhere later in the 5th, maybe a 6th if it falls as rankings have him, is LHP Dylan Dodd. Listed at 6’3″/210lbs, Dodd is a good combo of stuff and pitchability. Fastball touches 95mph and his SO/BB number this year was over 7.00. In his outing early this year versus the #1 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks; Dodd pitched 6 innings of 2-run ball, allowing only 3 hits (2 HR), 2 BB, while striking out 10. A college Senior, this could also be the range you start looking for bonus pool saving signings, and Dodd coming out of SE Missouri State could fit the bill.

#6.174 – LHP Dylan Dodd, SEMST

A lot of times doing studies like this, you already have some ideas of players that will end up on the final list because you know the inputs and you naturally look for them on a more superficial basis throughout the year. But sometimes the data reveals something entirely new. That was the case for RHP Gordon Graceffo.

Graceffo is a 6’4″/210lb righty out of Villanova with a bit of a hitchy delivery and not a ton of strikeouts. But there’s enough in his stuff (fastball up to 95mph) and makeup that he held opponents to a 1.54 ERA, and 0.96 WHIP over 82 innings this year. MLB has him on their board at #205, so my data is potentially pointing towards something.

As he currently looks on tape, I think he might be destined for a bullpen move, but if these mechanics can be tweaked…I wonder if there isn’t something more here that can be unlocked. Either way, at 7th round value, he looks like he could be a useful piece in some capacity.

#7.204 – RHP Gordon Graceffo, Villanova

I have a few more names that showed through the study, but none of the remaining are also on MLB’s most recent list of the top #250 prospects. So placing them in a round is less obvious. Instead, I will list them in order of how strong they performed in the study.

Tier 1 – RHP Aaron Brown, Middle Tennessee

Brown was actually one of the top scorers overall alongside Gavin Williams. He’s a 6’4″/220lb former Vanderbilt recruit that moved down to Middle Tennessee undoubtedly for a better shot at starting on the mound, and proceeded to strikeout 113 to only 15 walks in 85 innings this year. Strangely, he gave up almost as many homeruns as he allowed walks (13 to 15). I don’t know if that is ballpark related, but it is something to monitor, and perhaps why he doesn’t get drafted before the 8th round as a senior sign.

Tier 2 – RHP Elliott Carney, Wofford

Carney holds a couple of interesting distinctions on this list…neither of which are that he smells like cabbage: 1) he threw the first no-hitter in Wofford school history in April, 2) he’s originally from Eastlake HS in Sammamish, and then Edmonds Community College.

At 6’3″/205, Carney has decent size, but it’s unclear where his present stuff sits. However he’s doing it; Elliott held opponents to a very good 6.34 H/9 while striking out 10.94 per. Plenty to hope on here from a guy you can get rounds 9-12ish on a hometown discount/senior signing.

Tier 3 – RHP Kevin Kopps, Arkansas

Easily the best-known of the “unranked” names; Kopps has had an incredible season in 2021. Pitching primarily out of the Razorbacks’ bullpen; Kopps still acquired enough innings to qualify for season-ending efficiency stats. Of those, he won the national title in WHIP with his 0.76 mark. He also finished top 10 in total strikeouts, even though the scouting platitudes suggest his stuff won’t play at the major league level. The two other down marks on Kopps’ report: he is undersized and overaged. Only 6’0″ and already 24 years old…it will be seen how much of a discount teams will want before drafting him.

On the upside…and I hate to put this comp on him, but oh well…he kind of reminds me of Mariano Rivera. Rivera made the HOF with a single pitch: his 89 to 93 mph cutter that he simply just moved around the zone. Just a thought.

Tier 3 – RHP Pierson Ohl, Grand Canyon

Another guy that kind of came out of nowhere…Ohl presents a high-strike thrower with ultra-clean mechanics that scored well across the board. Statistically, he led the country in complete games…which suggests either a high efficiency worker that lets his defense work behind him, or a coach that just let him throw forever.

Tier 3 – LHP Russell Smith, TCU

The final name culled from this study was super tall TCU lefty Russell Smith. With a fastball topping at 93 mph presently, but a 6’9″/235lb frame that could add some velo in time; Smith has a ton to work from. And he wouldn’t be the first LHP from TCU drafted by the Mariners as that was the same bio for Brandon Williamson when he came to us in 2019..

12 Pitchers up, 12 pitchers down. 2021 MLB Draft begins three weeks from today.

Mariners Mock Draft #2

By Jared Stanger

The 2021 MLB Draft begins Day 1 exactly four weeks from Sunday. I’ve already had some change(s) of heart on some of my previous picks, so I needed to get another one up.

The biggest change is going to be right at the top. I think one of the strengths of this draft class is the prep shortstop class. The top four names from that group will still probably be gone by the time Seattle drafts at #12. But the next best way to mine talent from the class is to choose from the high school shortstops that potentially project to play at another position. This could be 3B, 2B, maybe an OF. As long as the bat plays, I don’t necessarily care if the player ends up moving off SS.

I mentioned a couple names that fit this description in my previous mock…Gavin Conticello and Peyton Stovall. Conticello is still quiet enough to be potentially found at a later round, but it feels like Stovall is still climbing. And I’m fully on-board for that.

#1.12- 2B Peyton Stovall, Haughton HS

Stovall has been a special talent for putting barrel to the ball for a couple years now, but it was the fact that he decided in the summer of 2020 to add some weight, and with it strength, that has really elevated his game. After adding about 15 lbs last year, Peyton went on to hit 14 homeruns in his 38 game high school season. While adding that kind of power; Stovall maintained a 6 to 1 walk to strikeout rate, for a .664 OBP and a 1.695 OPS.

In the field, Stovall is a bit mechanical, but part of what mechanical means (to me) is that it is a repeatable movement. He kind of reminds me of the baseball equivalent of Larry Bird. It’s not a pretty athleticism, but that doesn’t mean it’s not athletic. You don’t know how it works, but it does. And I think it will work consistently.

In my previous mock, I went prep righty Jackson Baumeister here. I still really like Baumeister, but after going HS with the first pick (which is already going against Jerry Dipoto’s staff’s history); I kinda feel like I need to come back to college with the next pick.

There’s a slight chance my first pick from my first mock, LHP Matt Mikulski, is still on the board here…in which case you draft him. But the more likely scenario is you’ll have to go with another college arm. Personally, I think there is a strong crop of college lefties all projected around the late-1st to mid-3rd round range: Mikulski, Andrew Abbott, Doug Nikhazy, Christian Macleod, Joe Rock, Steve Hajjar. But something caught my eye when studying the probable first college LHP that will be drafted: Jordan Wicks.

Wicks: 6’1″/215lbs, fastball 90-93mph, touches 95mph, 3.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 11.50 SO/9, 4.21 SO/BB
LHP X: 6’1″/196lbs, fastball 90-93mph, touches 95mph, 3.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 12.37 SO/9, 4.82 SO/BB

Almost identical profiles with X actually performing better statistically across the board. The only differences I can find? The former is a year younger, and the latter was a reliever until 2021. I mean…I guess you could argue Wicks has the better single pitch between the two with his changeup, but that runs the risk of being too insular of a thought process. What you’re trying to do is to find the best person at fulfilling the future job of MLB left-handed starting pitcher.

LHP X is Georgia starter Ryan Webb.

#2.48- LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

So Webb’s numbers were better and they were compiled against elite SEC competition. The context of him being in the bullpen until this year is pretty easily explained: Emerson Hancock, Cole Wilcox, Jonathan Cannon. The other starters for KState while Wicks has been there: Griffin Hassall, Will Brennan, Caleb Littlejim. Who?

I like Wicks, but I’d like him a whole lot better in the 2nd round. Webb might give you a chance at that.

#3.83- IF Gavin Conticello, Stoneman Douglas HS

Conticello is a prep shortstop that probably ends up moving to a different position as a pro, I’m just not sure which position that will be. His hard-swinging lefty stroke gets some comps to Cody Bellinger who presently splits his time between 1B and OF. If you get that with an MVP bat…you won’t mind moving him off of SS. But start him off at 3B, probably.

#4.113- LHP Ky Bush, St. Mary’s

The picks from the 4th and 5th rounds remain from previous mock. Another upside college lefty here in the former Coug, Ky Bush. He’s got great pitcher’s frame, big velo, and already improved control. This is the most prototypical “Jerry” pick so far.

#5.144- 1B JT Schwartz, UCLA

Again, still keeping him from the first mock. Big-framed first baseman with elite eye at the plate. Mostly doubles power at this point, but hope for pro strength program to get him stronger.

#6.174- RHP Rawley Hector, Anna HS

An extreme pitchability prep arm, Hector is 6’2″/190-ish and has terrific feel for the strikezone with very clean mechanics. Present velo is only low 90’s, but there’s time to increase it. Rawley tore his ACL in 2020, so his work in 2021 HS season may not even show him at his best. You may be getting him at a discount here even if you go overslot money to pull him away from his college commitment to Texas A&M.

It’s not unheard of for Seattle to go prep arm around this range. They drafted RHP Mikey Limoncelli and LHP Adam Macko in the 6th and 7th rounds respectively in 2019. In 2018, they got a couple HS pitchers in the 11th and 16th rounds (Damon Casetta-Stubbs and Holden Laws). In 2017, Sam Carlson was this regime’s earliest drafted prep thrower in the 2nd round. They also drafted Jorge Benitez that year out of a Puerto Rico HS in the 9th round. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I do note that each year featured one righthanded and one lefthanded prep pitcher. In the 2020 abbreviated draft class there were not any prep arms, but there were only 5 rounds (Seattle has only once gone prep arm before the 6th), and they did draft a 19-year-old Connor Phillips out of JUCO in the 2nd. All of those picks, and their signings, were based on pre-draft agreed-upon signing figures.

#7.204- Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss

I’m curious if Kevin Kopps’ age will be enough to drop him down this far. If it does, I’d make him this pick in a heartbeat.

Broadway has been one of the best closers in the country this year with 16 saves in 29 appearances. He’s a bit undersized at 5’11″/205lbs, but that hasn’t stopped Seattle on relief arms before. They drafted Ty Adcock at 6’0″ in the 8th round in 2019 class. That same year they took 5’11” Kyle Hill in the 11th round. In 2017 they took Randy Bell in the 10th round and JP Sears in the 11th, and they’re both 5’11”.

Broadway is 24 years old and should allow you to save a bit in signing bonus to use towards other players. But he’s also a legit arm that could be very fast to the show.

#8.234- 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

Tirotta is another carryover from my previous mock. This is probably too late to actually acquire him, but it’s generally more aggressive than he’s seen in most national projections.

#9.264- C Andy Thomas, Baylor

After mocking FSU catcher Matheu Nelson in the 3rd round in my previous piece; I passed on him in this one. But I still wanted to get a catcher at some point in the first two days of the draft. Thomas has much less raw power than Nelson (22 HR to 11 HR), but he also strikes out about half as much (24.47% to 12.78%). Andy is a decently sized backstop at 6’2″/210lbs with one of the best caught-stealing rates I could find. Henry Davis was the best I found at 46.4% CS, but Thomas was right behind him at 45.9%. In fact, Thomas is the third national finalist for the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year award along with Davis and Nelson.

I don’t have all of the defensive catching metrics on any of these catchers, but I’m taking their inclusion in that specific award as de facto compliment of their receiving skills. If Thomas can hit a floor of Dan Wilson as a backstop; I think that’s a worthy draftpick. Plus, he’s a fifth-year senior that could save you some money.

#10.294- OF John Thrasher, Hartford

I’m keeping Thrasher from the previous mock, but targeting him in a later round. He’s a senior with very nice contact skills, a good eye, and elite base running. And the defense should allow him to stay in center. Could be a Braden Bishop type player with a future as a 4th outfielder with pinch-running specialization.

#11.324- LHP Devin Futrell, American Heritage HS

After the initial 10 rounds, teams leave the bonus-pool theatrics. Seattle, specifically, will use the first few rounds after #10 to draft some harder-to-sign players, then try to save some bonus pool from some point(s) round 1-10 to throw at them. Sometimes it’s an underclass college player like Carter Bins…sometimes a prep player that fell past their expected draft projection like Casetta-Stubbs.

Futrell would be the latter. He’s committed to Vanderbilt, and this is probably implausible, but I just really like his mechanics and polish, and he’d be worth the attempt.

#12.354- SS Carson Crawford, Rohnert Park HS

Even after drafting two prep shortstops in the earlier rounds; I didn’t really take any that actually project to play SS. So Crawford is my attempt to remedy that. Plus, I need some more righthanded bats. He’s got a smooth swing with nice barrel control, and some natural loft. Just needs to get stronger.

1st- 2B Peyton Stovall
2nd- LHP Ryan Webb
3rd- 3B/OF Gavin Conticello
4th- LHP Ky Bush
5th- 1B JT Schwartz
6th- RHP Rawley Hector
7th- RHP Taylor Broadway
8th- 3B Riley Tirotta
9th- C Andy Thomas
10th- OF John Thrasher
11th- LHP Devin Futrell
12th- SS Carson Crawford

If I had one self-critique of this grouping; it’s probably short by one college righthanded starting pitcher. It needs someone from the midst of names like Dom Hamel, Aaron Brown, Conor Grady, Alek Jacob, Elliott Carney plucked in there somewhere. Maybe you give up the closer in the 7th and go starter there instead. Or maybe you give up a second upside prep bat in the first three picks, and instead go high floor college arm in the 3rd. Or maybe most of those names could still be had in round 13. Yeah, maybe that.

Mariner 10 round mock

By Jared Stanger

At this time two years ago, we’d only be about six days away from the last day of the MLB Draft. This year; we are exactly six WEEKS away from the start of the 2021 Draft. Normally I only have a few weeks after the NFL Draft to cram for the MLB Draft. This year I’ll end up with a couple months. I’ve already had enough time to look through college and high school prospect lists to put together 10 rounds worth of Mariner mock draftpicks. The entirety of this year’s draft will only be 20 rounds (down from 40 rounds in 2019, but up from the 5 round class last year). So this represents a healthy portion of what will be this year’s class.

The Mariners this year will draft 12th overall, followed by single picks every round…no competitive balance picks this year. This will put them at #12, #48, #83, #113, #144, and then every 30th pick after #144.

Jerry Dipoto and his staff have never drafted a high school player in the 1st round since they’ve been here, and reports around the league suggest this year will be no different. I’m on record that I loathe this philosophy. Jarred Kelenic was the 6th overall draftpick in 2018 for the NY Mets. That same year; Seattle drafted Logan Gilbert with their 1st rounder at pick #14. Both players made their MLB debuts on the exact same day. The concept of college players being more major league ready is a fallacy when talking about early 1st round players. Certainly, you can break down the data to find the high school bats are better than the college players.

In general, I just find the upside of the high-end high school players worth the risk. Even if/when they take longer to develop; because you’ve started that clock earlier, you can still see dividends earlier on them than many lesser-talented college players. You create room for error when you get them in your program at 18 (or 16 for international players…see Julio Rodriguez and Noelvi Marte).

So my 1st round pick will be a college player to represent the Mariner philosophy, but I’m going to point out who I think they should take instead, as well.

#1.12 – LHP Matt Mikulski, Fordham University

I loathe having to draft at this spot. The upper tier of this draft is only like 8 players deep. So even if a top 8 player drops; are they really going to drop four spots?? Doubtful. Then you factor in that two probable top 12 talents had their seasons ended already due to Tommy John surgery, which shortens the college pool significantly. What you end up left with at #12 are a 5’9″ college outfielder, a 5’10” college shortstop that probably moves to 2B (and is arguably overrated here, anyways), and a college outfielder that has struck out 30% of the time in 2021. Those are the bats.

The college pitchers generally mentioned here:

RHP Sam Bachman hits 100mph and ticks a lot of the boxes on paper, but his throwing motion looks like a JJ Putz type reliever, to me.

RHP Ryan Cusick looks the part build-wise and has good stuff, but the control is suspect and yielded 4.11 BB/9 on the year and a 4.24 ERA. Doesn’t total feel like a Jerry guy.

RHP Michael McGreevy hits so many of the boxes on paper. 6’4″/200, 1.17 WHIP, 0.94 BB/9, 10.25 SO/9. But I watch the guy and I just don’t feel it. The mechanics are odd, to me, and I really don’t like his lack of down-mound extension. I wonder if he gets bumped off by the analytics group.

LHP Jordan Wicks. I could see this guy more than the others, in part just to balance out the RHP-heavy recent drafts. I’ve seen him listed at either 6’1″ or 6’3″. Sturdy build between 215-220lbs. Present fastball is decent between 90-93, touching 95mph, and the changeup is elite with sub-1600 spin rate. Marco Gonzales was the #19 overall pick in 2013, and Wicks is very much in the same mold. But I just find it difficult to knowingly draft a guy with 3rd-starter upside as my first pick. So what is the difference(s) between Wicks and Matt Mikulski?

Mikulski’s present fastball is a tick better sitting 93-95, and topping out at 98mph. Statistically, Mikulski has been far superior in 2021. Wicks: 3.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 11.32 SO/9, 2.70 BB/9…Mikulski 1.45 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 16.33 SO/9, 3.56 BB/9. Mikulski has given up a miniscule 3.82 hits per 9, to Wicks’ 8.41H/9. I also like that Mikulski only gave up 3 HR to Wicks’ 9 HR allowed. MLB has Mikulski ranked as their #43 overall prospect…M’s don’t pick again until #48…is it worth missing on him to try to wait until the 2nd? We’ll see.

The other couple reasons I’m leaning towards Mikulski…one is probably just anecdotal, one is practical. One: Mikulski was literally at TMobile Park on May 29th to see the M’s beat the Rangers in the Justin Dunn gem. Two: I’m looking for ways to go underslot with the 12th pick to allow us to go upside with later picks. When you’re, quote-unquote, reaching on a player in the 1st, be it college or HS; you probably have a shot at getting him to sign for closer to the amount of the pick where he was projected to be drafted. If I’m correct on my evaluation of this class in that the talent available from roughly pick #10 to pick #50 is close to the same; it benefits you to get the same talent who will sign for less money.

Now, the guys I’d like to potentially see over the college players: RHP Chase Petty, 2B Peyton Stovall, 3B Gavin Conticello.

Petty has been locked in to the 1st round for a while with his 100mph arm and already plus present slider. He’s similar to 2019 Jack Leiter except people aren’t wanting to see him add velo, but instead add pitchability.

Stovall has only recently been getting 1st round buzz, but it’s way more late 1st. I don’t see many holes in Stovall’s game. He’s an all-around smooth player…both at the plate and in the infield. Seems like A- to B+ across the board.

Conticello is more of a personal fave. He’s getting closer to 3rd round projection in most of the media I’ve seen, but when I watch him I see Cody Bellinger. Bellinger was a 4th round pick in 2013. Both have that long-levered, hard swung lefty approach. Only thing with Gavin is I don’t know where his glove ends up. I don’t love his actions on the left infield, but could he play some first base? Maybe. Power could play at first.

#2.48 – RHP Jackson Baumeister, Bolles HS

This was a very tough call. I’ve got a couple high school lefties I like here in Maddux Bruns and Brandon Clarke, I think Conticello could still be in play here, and I like 3B Colson Montgomery here, too. This range feels very strong in high school players. And if you’ve gone underslot at #12; you could easily afford to buy a prep player out of his college commitment.

Baumeister is listed 6’3″/210lbs with a free and easy fastball touching 96mph with room for more. And then he mixes that with a curve and change. I love how the ball pops out of his hand on the FB, and then he gets great armspeed to add deception on his curve. The interesting thing with Jackson is how late a start he had on pitching. He was primarily a catcher for years. So there is still some unknown upside to where he could go while now fully dedicated to the mound.

#3.83 – C Matheu Nelson, Florida State

After being very HS heavy in the 2nd, I’m back to college heavy in the 3rd. Some nice college pitching here, but I like Nelson so much more than the next group of catchers on my board I don’t want to miss on him. Plus, we’ve had decent success on catchers out of FSU recently. The other downside to many of the catchers in this class: I don’t think many will stick behind the plate. I see a lot of OF/1B projects. Nelson will catch.

Nelson had arguably the best power year of any player in the country in 2021: 22 Homeruns, 63 RBI in 49 games. His strikeout rate is almost 25%, which is higher than I want to see, but I’m going to overlook it in exchange for the power combined with over 40% caught stealing rate.

Nelson is considered a redshirt sophomore after the 2020 covid year, so it may take a little extra money to get him to sign this year, but you should still have some of that left.

#4.113 – LHP Ky Bush, St Mary’s

Bush, the former WSU Coug, has pitched himself into solid draft range. He reminds me a little of Carlos Rodon with his thick 6’6″/240lb build from the southpaw side. The fastball is up to 96mph with a developing 4-pitch mix, and much-improved control this year over his WSU freshman tilt. His 2021 went 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 12.87 SO/9, and down to 2.18 BB/9.

#5.144 – 1B/3B JT Schwartz, UCLA

This is one of the easiest picks in this mock for me. Schwartz is an advanced hitter slashing .397/.525/1.157 with 33 walks to only 21 strikeouts on the year. Only 7 HR, but you’re planning on more future power from his 6’4″/208lb frame. Good defender at first, as well. Another technical redshirt sophomore that you’re trying to coax into signing now.

#6.174 – 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

Tirotta represents very well the kind of player I’m making a concerted effort to locate in this class. He’s 6’3″/195lbs, hitting .323/.446/1.123, with 14 HR, 28 XBH, 12 SB on 14 attempts, and good defense. He’d technically be a senior signing, but that may not be as big of a concern this year with the number of 4th, 5th, 6th year seniors that will be available, and the draft bonus pool surplus.

#7.204 – SS Kurtis Reid, Hamilton HS

In what is a strong prep shortstop class; but in a franchise that doesn’t really do that early; I’m sorta trying to steal an upside SS here, in the 7th. Reid has good size at 6’2″/190lbs, a solid bat, but what I’m really interested in is his glove. In reality, this kind of pick may not happen until the 11th round or later; when you’re not obligated to bonus pool rules.

#8.234 – OF John Thrasher, Hartford

Thrasher represents a few different fun attributes. He’s arguably the best base-stealer in this class going 37 swiped in 37 attempts. He plays a hell of a catch and throw defensive centerfield. And he’s a .369/.470/1.150 hitter that could become a true leadoff man. Plus, his name is Thrasher, ffs.

#9.264 – RHP Jake Smith, Miami

Smith is a guy I liked in the 2020 draft when he was pitching in Junior College. This year he transferred to Miami and still looked quality vs the higher competition. His full season marks included 2.68 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, 12.2 SO/9, and 5.36 SO/BB across 17 appearances as starter and reliever. After opening the year in the Canes’ bullpen; Smith started in 6 of his last 7 games pitched, and in those games held a 1.08 ERA. He’s considered a redshirt sophomore after the covid asterisk. The highlight is the fastball up to 98mph out of the ‘pen.

#10. 294 – LHP Parker Harm, N Dakota State

Harm is a 6’2″/190lbs lefty closer for NDSU popping 16.26 SO/9 and a very low 5.52 H/9. He’s a little wild, but this is a pretty standard, 10th round, senior signing kind of player.

So there’s 10 rounds. If I had one self-criticism of it…it’s too balanced. They’re not gonna go C, 1B, 3B, SS, OF, RHP, LHP, closer. It’s possible this is the year they go way heavier on bats. It’s possible they finally break down and draft high school players with frequency. Whatever it is…there will be something about the actual draft class that is more slanted to some kind of theme. But there’s no real way to know ahead of time if they base that on organizational need, or the strength of the draft class, or just happenstance of how the draft falls if/when you draft BPA throughout.

Seamock Draft 10

By Jared Stanger

We are five days out from the 2021 NFL Draft…felt like a good time to knock out another 7-round mock draft. You know the drill: Seahawks gonna trade back and add picks. I ran a few different trade scenarios and posted them on my twitter account. I’ll cut straight to the chase here and trade #2.56 to the Dallas Cowboys for their picks #3.75, #3.99, and #5.179. I will then trade the 4th round pick at #129 to San Francisco for their picks at #5.155 and 6.194. Final draft board: 3.75, 3.99, 5.155, 5.179, 6.194, 7.250. Doubling your picks without sacrificing all upside.

3.75 – OL Quinn Meinerz

There has been a lot of chatter connecting Meinerz to the Seahawks. I think a Center makes a lot of sense at this spot as there are a handful of good ones in this class…Meinerz tested very well athletically but also hit some important benchmarks in terms of his build and length. He’s shorter at 6’3″ (may help Russell’s passing lanes), but has decent length (33 3/8″ arms), and very stout (320lbs). I don’t think it’s improbable the Seahawks could be interested.

Meinerz has mostly played guard in college, so we may see him backup Pocic for the year, then let Pocic walk in 2022. It’s also worth noting that the Seahawks haven’t let either of their most recent centers start at the spot as rookies. Britt started at RT and Pocic started as bench swing OL. Low expectations here for the immediate future.

3.99 – LB Hamilcar Rashed

I find it strange we aren’t talking more about the current hole on the roster where KJ Wright used to be. I realize the primary reason is that KJ is still on the market and fans are optimistic he’ll be back, but I dunno. Besides, I think there’s a nice pocket of players in this class that could be nice plug and play SAM linebackers. In my scenario; Jordyn Brooks remains at WILL, and the SAM will have skillset more akin to when Bruce Irvin was at the position.

Rashed measured 6’2″/251lbs with a very nice 4.62s forty and solid jumps at his pro day. During the 2020 season it seemed teams schemed to stop him as his production completely fell off, but in 2019 he had 14.0 sacks and a nation-leading 22.5 TFL. It’s a profile that the roster doesn’t really have at the moment as most of the edge rushers have suddenly become closer to 270 lbs than the 250 that Rashed is at. But Pete has a long history of incorporating that smaller LEO/Elephant role going back to Clay Matthews at USC.

5.155 – WR Michael Strachan

Okay, it is super unrealistic projecting the Seahawks drafting two players from outside Division 1 within their first three picks, but they also have to hunt value like never before this year.

Strachan is a 6’5″/226lb specimen that posted one of the higher RAS scores from this WR class. 4.50s forty, 35″ vert, and really still learning the position. But we only need someone to take the reps from David Moore. Moore was an underrated deep-threat, jump-ball option for Russell; and those are things Strachan excels at.

5.179 – CB Jason Pinnock

I’m pretty ride or die for Pinnock at this point. Size measurements check out. Athleticism checks out. Coverage analytics check out. And the buzz hasn’t caught on so the value checks out. Seahawks’ corner room is deep enough at this point that they can wait on Pinnock.

6.194 – DT Taquon Graham

Similar to the SAM pick; I feel like we’re overlooking the absence of Jarran Reed too much. Even though this isn’t a highly rated DT class, there are some good athletes, and I believe Pete and John take a shot on a 3tech somewhere.

Graham pro-day’d at 6’3″/292lbs, with a 4.89s forty, and 32.5″ vert. Overall the 3rd-best DT athlete in the class. This is the kind of guy you take a shot on in the 6th round

7.250 – LB Nick Niemann

Much like Graham; this is an athlete upside pick. Niemann is 6’3″/234lbs with a 4.51s forty. Don’t need much from him year one outside of special teams.

Final haul:

3.75 – OL Quinn Meinerz
3.99 – LB Hamilcar Rashed
5.155 – WR Michael Strachan
5.179 – CB Jason Pinnock
6.194 – DL Taquon Graham
7.250 – LB Nick Niemann

Spring SeaMock

By Jared Stanger

Seattle sports scene has been a depressing place to be the last couple months and feeling excitement about the future of both major sports franchises has been difficult to conjure. But today marks the beginning of Spring Training games and tomorrow begins the month of March, and with each hopefully will come some new vibes.

In that spirit I present only my second Seahawks mock draft of this cycle. When I last presented this I wasn’t even fully accurate on the number of draftpicks the Seahawks hold this year. I believe, now, that the correct number is: four. While the league is still waiting on announcement of compensatory picks; it isn’t expected that Seattle will be receiving any of those. The comp picks will only serve to mark the accurate placement of all picks after the 3rd round. So, other than the 2nd, these Seattle pick placements are rough estimates of where they will land after comp picks are added for the league.

I currently have the board as: #2.56, #4.123, #5.161, #7.244.

Pete and John have never shown enough confidence or trust in their drafting to go this concentrated. They want more shots on the clock than this. So we can expect multiple trades. I wonder about them trading a currently rostered player to add some of those picks, but I don’t have a strong feeling for who those players are. Carlos Dunlap seems like a valuable piece who also happens to carry the 3rd-highest cap hit on the roster. The 5th-highest is Jarran Reed. In one sense, I’d rather trade Jarran than Carlos based on perceived impact to the on-field play, but I think it relevant to note that this is a pretty awful DT draft class. Conversely, there could be quite a few players with similar profiles/abilities to Dunlap available even as deep as 4th-5th round.

I’m not going to get into a conversation about trusting John/Pete to replace Dunlap when they’ve missed in varying degrees on guys like Malik McDowell, LJ Collier, Darrell Taylor. I think this is just a blanket statement you could make about all positions. I’m just going to write with an assumption of competence and hope that they’ll finally put together another great draft class.

Really, I’m making a concerted effort to make this specific mock about players that I trust on a deeper level. I’m not going to get too explicit explaining what that means, but just know there is a certain thought going into this group. Sometimes that means going contrary to what I think Pete would do, but it also means sometimes going contrary to my own initial thoughts.

I’m not going to go too far into the trading around. I’ll do one trade back from their first pick, and then try to make things work. So, from #56, I will move back to the Packers #61 which should also give them enough leftover value to also get a 4th (#131) and a 6th (#211).

#2.61, #4.123, #4.131 #5.161, #6.211, #7.244

I think there are a bunch of directions free agency could force Pete/John to go in for their first pick. Replacing Chris Carson/Carlos Hyde at RB. Replacing Shaquill Griffin/Quinton Dunbar at CB. Maybe adding to the edge rush. Maybe trying to give the TE room a legit weapon with the loss of Olsen and Hollister, and the new offensive coordinator in mind.

I think there is enough depth in this CB class to wait on that. I don’t love the value of RB or TE this early. I like the value of DE around this range, but I’m not sure the team will see it as a need right now. Personally, I’m not coming out of this draft without reinforcements for the OL, which is also losing one starter to retirement and one to free agency (for now). Plus, it’s an olive branch to Russell Wilson.

In the previous mock I was looking to gain a future tackle piece from a solid OT class, but recently I’m seeing the OT board falling away. Especially with the trade back. So we pivot to the interior OL. It’s a pretty solid Center class as well, with three OC likely coming off the board between 50-80: Landon Dickerson, Josh Myers, Creed Humphrey. Quinn Meinerz coming from the small school probably falls later. Of the first three: Humphrey may be the best pass-blocker, Myers may be the best run-blocker, and Dickerson may have the best intangibles. I’m not sure there’s a loss among them, so the decision may come down to who is still on the board.

#2.61 – Ohio State, Center, Josh Myers

The Buckeyes were one of the top 10 most effective run-game offenses in the country last year, and their scheme is potentially a shade of what we could see from the Seahawks going forward; so the incorporation of Myers might be an ideal fit. Myers has good size at 6’5″/312lbs, he’s a nice athlete for the position, and he plays with an edge.

#4.123 – Mississippi State, Running Back, Kylin Hill

I’m a very big Chris Carson fan. I think he’s super underrated locally and across the league. But I think we’re about to find out where he’s underrated more as he works his way through his first free agency. I’m having trouble, with all that is going on within the roster, seeing the team giving Carson a multi-year deal. At best, maybe they tag him to delay his departure a year. So I’m looking hard for replacements in this draft. The two best fits would be Najee Harris and Javonte Williams, but I just don’t know that I can spend the draftpick they would cost to acquire. When you turn to the next tier; I think you’re looking at Rhamondre Stevenson and Kylin Hill. Rhamondre feels like the guy Pete is gonna covet more, but I’m rolling with Kylin.

What you’re hoping for here is a nice middle ground between like a 3rd round Kareem Hunt and a 5th round Aaron Jones. Kareem was about 5’11″/216lbs with a 4.62s forty…Aaron was about 5’9″/208lbs with a 4.56s forty. I’d take Kylin at 5’10″/212lbs with anything under a 4.59s forty.

When I’m watching RB’s; I’m looking for a few major keys. 1) running the ball (obviously), 2) catching the ball, 3) pass protection. #1 tells me I can use him on 1st down. #2 tells me I can use him on 2nd down. #3 tells me I can use him on 3rd down and long.

1:

2:

3:

#5.131 – Buffalo, Edge, Malcolm Koonce

If there can be such a thing as a luxury pick in a draft that began with only 4 picks; this is mine. I just really like Koonce as a player and he’s a bit of a profile that we don’t have on the roster right now. Listed at 6’3″/250lbs, Koonce would be the smallest edge rusher from a group that currently consists of 291lb Collier, 285lb Dunlap, 279lb Green, 265lb Mayowa, 260lb Moore, 267lb Taylor, 260lb Robinson. Maybe you include Shaquem in that group, but he’s the opposite direction at 227lbs. Depending on what they do with KJ Wright (I suspect they bring him back); you may also be able to try Malcolm at SAM next to Wagner and Brooks for a look more reminiscent of earlier years Bruce Irvin.

Speaking of Bruce….check the second clip:

#5.161 – Ole Miss, Tightend, Kenny Yeboah

For whatever reason; I thought Seattle had a good tightend room last year, but then kinda didn’t use any of them much. And it seemed to me using the TE would have been a good way to break teams out of their Cover 2 shells that seemed to baffle Pete/Schotty/Russ all second half of last season. I think the new OC will bring some changes in this specific regard. But we’re still gonna need more bodies. Olsen has gone off to hold a microphone fulltime. Hollister will probably go on to drop balls fulltime somewhere else. Dissly is coming off his healthiest season so far, but that’s always gonna be a question mark for him. And then Parkinson got no work and therefore no film, so he’s a giant question mark.

My guess is they’ll look to sign somebody inexpensive at the spot from the free agent pool, and then draft another guy. Kenny Yeboah really intrigues me. He played 2020 at Ole Miss listed at 6’4″/240lbs. I happen to know he’s now up over 251lbs. But I think it’s too much weight, too fast. He needs to get back down to like 245 and he’ll be fine.

Yeboah brings an interesting skillset. He was one of the most explosive TE in the country last year averaging 19.41 yards per catch with 6 TD in 8 games. And he also was a very good blocker for his size. We’ll first look at the blocking:

And now the receiving. I love this little delayed slant. Cover 2 buster for sure.

I love that he put up great tape vs Alabama, too.

#6.211 – Pittsburgh, Cornerback, Jason Pinnock

Jason Pinnock is a guy I’ve been following for a while and is finding himself as the odd-man out in one of the best CB classes in like a decade. He is worth so much more than this pick position. I liken him very much to Byron Maxwell, who Seattle took in the 6th round in 2011. BMax was 6’0″/202lbs, ran a 4.43s forty with 33″ vert and 10’4″ broad. That’s the floor. But Pinnock has a bit more athleticism and therefore may climb up into the 4th or 5th. In combine training, Pin has been tested with a 4.48s forty, 40″ vert and 10’8″ broad at 6’1″/205lbs. He also hit a 6.58s three-cone which is absurd for a guy that size (Doug Baldwin had a 6.56).

Corner is a position of need for the team and it’s a deep draft class, so I’m neither forcing an early pick at the spot, nor letting my board fall completely away. If I’m on the clock in either of my 4th round picks and only have 1-2 names left on my corner board; I’m willing to take Pinnock there, as well.

#7.244 – South Dakota State, Wide Receiver, Cade Johnson

I don’t know who in this WR class will fall this far, but I feel like odds are someone will. There are SOOO many WR this year. Maybe it’s a Shi Smith, maybe it’s a Damonte Coxie coming off a missed season due to injury, etc. I just think we want to look for a guy that can become a reliable target over the middle. Lock and DK have proven they can be the deep threats. Now go get someone that can work intermediate between the seams. I like Cade as a value play on day 3. He has a lot of the same traits as Lock, but he had no 2020 season due to the school he attended being FCS, which could mean he drops.

Recap:

#2.61- OC Josh Myers
#4.123- RB Kylin Hill
#4.131- DE/OLB Malcolm Koonce
#5.161- TE Kenny Yeboah
#6.211- CB Jason Pinnock
#7.244- WR Cade Johnson

SeaMock 2021.0

By Jared Stanger

Hello everybody! It’s been awhile. 2020 has been such an insane year that writing mock drafts, and even just keeping up on watching prospects, has really fallen so much by the wayside. But hopefully things are starting to settle down.

We can start to get an idea of what a Seahawks 2021 draft could look like. The first thing to do is to set the board. To my surprise; Seattle currently looks to be starting with five picks. The big headlines told us that the 1st and 3rd rounders this year are gone (to NY in the Jamal Adams trade), then there was the trade that brought Carlos Dunlap here, and thank God they took BJ Finney as part of the deal so that draftwise we only lost a 7th rounder. But, what was somewhat forgotten was that we had gained a 2021 7th rounder in exchange for our 2020 5th rounder in the Quandre Diggs trade last year. So we’re still left with one of two 7th’s, plus native 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th round picks.

I worked out a rough estimate of conditional pick allotment per round expected for this year, so that I can more accurately approximate Seattle’s current projected pick locations. The resulting numbers go: 2.60, 4.127, 5.166, 6.208, 7.249. After that, I’ll project one trade back just to get the inventory up a bit. We’ll do #60 to Houston for pick #3.68 + #4.121.

I think draft boards across the league are going to vary more widely this year than ever before. We have too many unknown variables with how teams will value players that opted out of 2020 vs players they actually got to scout this season. Gonna be some wide discrepancies between teams targeting high ceilings and teams targeting safe, high floors. Players they know more accurately where they’re at in their development vs players they simply THINK have more upside based on 2019.

#3.68

Sketching out a rough snapshot of what is available here, as well as considering what positions this draft class has most depth in that could be found later, I sort of come down to an OT or a DL here.

This draft is slowly building a nice group of undervalued, true Defensive Ends. By that, I’m not talking 250lb linebackers that rush the QB…I’m talking guys that are 265-285lbs and tall/long (some could also rep as 3tech). Many of those guys don’t have a ton of hype right now, and certainly there isn’t a consensus of what order and how early they come off.

The problem is…Seattle has drafted a bunch of these types recently, and for various reasons none are currently working. Collier might be a useful piece, but it’s looking more and more like he should be inside at passrush DT. Green led the team in sacks last year, but has basically done nothing this year. Taylor has literally done nothing this year and I’m starting to worry about another Malik McDowell pick. And Robinson seems decent, but also that he’s not in the coaches good graces. Would I bypass drafting another one of this type? No. Would Pete/John? Probably.

Just for point of documentation; I’ll mention Vandy DL Dayo Odeyingbo as a guy that is currently discussed about this range and that I really like. A few years ago I really coveted Preston Smith for Seattle; he ended up going #38 overall…Dayo gives me the same vibe as Preston did, and he may also end up going earlier like Preston did.

This leaves me with Offensive Tackle. I don’t like the high-end OT availability this year, but I think taking a shot in the 3rd round makes more sense. I’m currently sitting on two OT that I think are sneaky upside players. One, is definitely not currently projected this early, but may be after the Combine. The other guy is one I’ve been on for a while, and I think he already fits this value.

Offensive Tackle, UNI, Spencer Brown

Spencer is a monster. Listed 6’9″/322lbs and carrying it really well. I think he’s got plenty of athleticism…good footspeed and strong upperbody, and some very underrated flexibility. Out of all the OT I’ve watched this year; I think Brown has the worst temperament. By that I mean: he’s the nastiest. He played RT for UNI last year, but I wonder if he couldn’t be a future LT. We need to replace Duane Brown in these next two drafts, so getting one in the 3rd this year, with a year to redshirt him, would be a coup. But the floor, I think, might be a Lane Johnson at RT.

#4.121

This particular spot in the draft…early-to-mid 4th round, at the beginning of day 3 of the draft…is typically one of the most efficient drafting chunks. Teams will frequently go really hard Best Player Available after thinking about the pick all night after day 2.

In my sketch I had a couple CB I liked here, I had some WR, could be a few RB, and this might be the last chance at OT before that group falls off the cliff (if you haven’t already addressed it earlier). I think this year you can find CB later than this. You can kinda always find WR. RB we may talk about momentarily.

At OT, my Combine winner wildcard is BYU RT Chandon Herring. No one is currently talking about him, so he’s no where near the 4th round at the moment. I barely see him spoken about as draftable. Projecting him here is me anticipating a bump from UDFA to middle of the draft. Maybe a good Combine raises him up higher than this…maybe it only raises him from UDFA to 5th. But I feel like this is solid middle-ground.

If you decide to go DL in the 3rd; Herring is my fallback at OT. But, if you go OT in the 3rd; my fallback for the 4th might be DL. I talked earlier about the true DE’s in this class…I think the depth of that spot extends further down than here. But, with this pick I’m trying to hit that George Kittle guy. Someone/something that is undervalued either in general or in this class, which creates a wormhole for him to fall this fall, but with more talent than you should be able to find here.

Defensive End, Buffalo, Malcolm Koonce

Malcolm is listed 6’3″/250lbs. He is more the OLB/LEO type than what is more commonly found in this class. That size/profile seems to be falling out of favor in the league. Teams lately are more interested in guys like Marcus Davenport or Yetur Gross Matos (or, ahem, Darrell Taylor), than Josh Uche, Zack Baun, Chase Winovich, Maxx Crosby. And, really, a version of Crosby is what you’re hoping for here…6’3″-6’5″, 245-255lb, DE/OLB out of the MAC Conference that you can pull from the 4th round, who turns into a 10 sack per year player.

#4.127

Much like the previous pick…we’re just looking for that Kittle player. RB, like TE, is a position where talent is often overlooked until later in drafts. Be it our own Chris Carson, or Marlon Mack, or Aaron Jones, or James Conner…it’s not unheard of to find RB talent after pick #100.

Running Back, Oklahoma, Rhamondre Stevenson

I think there are a handful of RB that will be available here that I’d be interested in, but Rhamondre is the one I’d be most ecstatic for (and probably least likely to fall this far). With Carson coming quickly into free agency and currently no deal; not to mention all of the RB injuries again this year (including Carson); any self-respecting “balanced pass/run” team needs to get a RB pretty much every year.

Mondre is listed 6’0″/246lbs. Which is crazy for how well he moves. I haven’t found much I don’t like about his tape, and hopefully his limited work in 2020 (50 carries in 3 games after missing the first 5 games with injury) will let him fall a bit.

#5.166

This is the easiest pick for me this mock.

Cornerback, Central Arkansas, Robert Rochell

Rochell is listed 6’2″/195lbs, he visually looks to have the prerequisite 32″ arms, and his athleticism will be eye-popping at the Combine. Getting him this late is the only question. Fortunately, in a sense, he hasn’t played much in 2020 due to non-existent season for his conference, and his 2019 tape is at his small school.

#6.208

This pick is such a shot in the dark. In terms of players declaring, draftstock months from now, and what will be surrounding this spot. But, as a general rule, I feel safe thinking that there will be some WR that I like still on the board. This year is very strong in slot WR, but I don’t have a strong feel for which ones aren’t valued as high as the rest. So this pick I’m not projecting a slot guy, but instead going with someone I feel more confident will be available this late.

Wide Receiver, Nevada, Romeo Doubs

Romeo is listed at 6’2″/200lbs, which could be what is missing on a roster with 5’10” Lock and 6’4″ Metcalf. Doubs is a Junior, so I am going out on a limb a bit thinking he’ll declare, but if he does declare the value is right. The intent is sort of trying to find this year’s Travis Fulgham. I like that Doubs is consistently running the right side go-route, as Lock and Metcalf seem stronger, for whatever reason, on the left. He’d be another awesome deep threat for Russell.

#7.249

The defense has been such a disaster in 2020. We’ve seen some progress on the passrush since the addition of Dunlap, but the corners are still huge questionmarks. Both Griffin and Dunbar are impending free agents, and I’m not sure you can pay either of them. They probably will pay one, but certainly the position needs reinforcements. And two shots at it could be a smart move in this deep CB class. This pick is one of my personal favorites in the entire draft.

Cornerback, Pitt, Jason Pinnock

I like Pin because he’s got the right size, 6’0″/200, he’s got excellent technique, but he’s also basically unspoken for in the draft community. So he’ll almost definitely be available where Seattle likes to find their Corners…day 3. I think there is a very high floor here…he may never become a Seattle starting Left CB, but I feel safe that he would be a solid Right CB in our scheme.

#3.68 – OT Spencer Brown
#4.121 – DE Malcolm Koonce
#4.127 – RB Rhamondre Stevenson
#5.166 – CB Robert Rochell
#6.208 – WR Romeo Doubs
#7.249 – CB Jason Pinnock