By Jared Stanger
Here it is. My final 7-round Seattle Sea-Mock for the 2017 NFL Draft. I’m preemptively saying none of these picks will happen cause I really think Seattle is going a different direction this year. This is more for posterity and the thought that three years down the road I bet my picks will stack up as a really good group of pro’s for whoever takes them.
I’m going with a lot of trades, though they will be tougher to make outside the hypothetical. I’m not giving a lot of scouting breakdown…at this point we know most of these guys.
Let’s get to it.
#26 – TRADE BACK
Of course. Let’s start to get our picks up. I would love to do a deal with Cleveland here as I think you could add two picks by dropping to #33, but it sounds like the Browns might take their QB at #1 overall. So my next hope is the Saints try to move up in front of the Chiefs in order to get a QB with their second pick of the 1st.
26 = 32 +103
t-32 – Defensive Back, University of Washington, Budda Baker
I can’t shake some of the things Schneider said in his pre-draft press conference about UW, about re-evaluating the way they scout, and about guys with short arms. If not Budda, I’d watch for one of the other short-armed, hybrid safety-corner-nickel players: Adoree Jackson or Chidobe Awuzie. I went with Budda as he seems to be the one that allows you to trade back.
58 – TRADE BACK
I think I can get another chunk of value dropping down 6-7 spots and still addressing a need with the guy I want. This time, I’m gonna make the Cleveland trade happen as they’ve got a million picks.
58 + 210 = 65 + 108
t-65 – Cornerback, Colorado, Ahkello Witherspoon
With the first pick in the 3rd round; I have Seattle getting a player I think is only a hair less value than Kevin King but at about 40 picks discount. Ahkello was a VMAC visitor. He’s a top 10 SPARQ performer at his position. He’s got great technique, really good ball-skills, and a very strong intellect. Kello needs to work on his tackling, but I believe that he can and will.
The other strong consideration for me here was USC WR Juju Smith-Schuster. Most of the intel I have points to Seattle trying to get a big-bodied WR at some point. They’ve been connected to Deangelo Yancey, Chad Williams, Trey Griffey, and a rumor about Zay Jones. Juju is a similar profile to that group, and Pete was at USC pro day.
90 – Defensive Line, Illinois, Dawuane Smoot
From all recent projection; this is an aggressive reach for Smoot. And I might be wrong about the specific player but right about the TYPE. Brock Huard put out a mock Wednesday (that I actually really liked) that had Seattle going with Demarcus Walker at 58. I prefer the CB earlier and going for the hybrid DL a little later. If Walker dropped to this range he’d probably be a steal.
Other names that are in this “type”: Daeshon Hall (*VMAC), Johnathan Calvin (*VMAC), Jeremiah Ledbetter, Trey Hendrickson, Keionta Davis, Tarell Basham. Of that group, Ledbetter has played the most at 3tech. Davis looks like he could.
Smoot is just the best blend, for me, of Edge pass rush, game tape at 3tech, intangibles, and body type. He shows more of the traits I look for in a pass-rusher than the rest at this range. 6’3″/264 lbs (so you’d want him to add another 6-8 lbs), 33 1/4″ arms. Only 5.0 sacks in 2016 (after 8.0 in 2015), but added 15.0 TFL and 10 hurries. If you believe in “pressure is disruption” or whatever that saying is; Smoot was very productive this year, and still has upside coming.
After trades, Seattle is now in position to draft four times in a seven pick stretch. I think move one of those back to fill out the 4th and 5th rounds. The order of the next three picks isn’t super-important.
102 – Tight End, Iowa, George Kittle
We needed to finally hit on some offense. This draft is stacked with TE’s. Seattle is going to be running into a bit of a TE problem after this season. They need to draft 1-2 this year. I’m probably only going to mock them one, with the hope they can get the second in UDFA.
3sigmaathlete.com recently updated this year’s TE SPARQ and it came out that, after pro day, Kittle was the #1 TE. So he’s super-athletic, he’s the best blocking TE I’ve seen in this class, and he’s shockingly under-valued because he caught only 22 passes in Iowa’s run-heavy scheme. Everything about him sounds like a blend of Luke Willson and Nick Vannett. Oh, and don’t sleep on how well he catches the ball.
t-103 – Wide Receiver, North Carolina, Mack Hollins
If I can’t have the Russell Wilson of receivers in the 2nd round (Zay Jones); let me get a guy that could someday be Russell’s running mate in the 3rd.
I’m putting it on Mack that he’s a cross between Ricardo Lockette and Martavis Bryant. Not super clean catching the ball, but gets so open he’s generally uncontested. 6’4″/221 lbs, ran a 4.53s forty while pulling his hammy (IIRC). Mack was the 2015 national leader in yards per catch and he’s a special teams stud. His pet dog is even named “Gunner”. Very cool player.
106 – Safety, Boston College, John Johnson
This is BY FAR the toughest spot for me to choose. I’ve got interest in a RB like Samaje Perine here. I think this could be the spot for a double-dip at CB (Shaq Griffin or Brandon Wilson). This could be the last chance to get one of the big safeties that project as S/LB hybrids that Seattle has been looking really hard at all pre-draft.
But, in the end, I just like John Johnson better than all those guys. (Well, I like Brandon Wilson too, but this is high for him.)
JJ didn’t test amazingly (but 65th percentile is no shame). He doesn’t have crazy size (6’1″/208lbs). He didn’t have any one particular standout stat (77 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.0 sack, 3 INT, 9 PBU, 1 FF). He does play special teams very well. He has played CB a fair amount. All of that together, plus his intangibles, makes him such a solid, high-floor pick. At the end of the 3rd round, he’s what Ozzie Newsome would call a “double”.
t-108 – TRADE BACK
You could trade either 106 or 108. Very little difference. But you start with 108 and negotiate up if you have to.
This is a trade with Washington, who have 10 picks (including two 4’s, and two 6’s).
108 = 123 +154
t-123 – Kicker, Arizona State, Zane Gonzalez
I happen to think there is no way Blair Walsh is the 2017 kicker. I happen to think Gonzalez has some insane numbers. Literally the best college kicker ever, statistically. I think a lot of people will cringe at a 4th round kicker. Many think Zane goes in the 5th. But that’s why I’m taking him in the 4th. Unlike Roberto Aguayo; Gonzalez does not have trouble with distance kicks (made 13×15 from 40+ yards…both misses from 50+).
t-154 – TRADE BACK
Move back another few spots and recoup the 6th rounder we lost in the 2nd round trade. This is a deal with Tennessee (for no apparent reason).
154 = 164 + 214
t-164 – Defensive Tackle, Southern California, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu
Seattle has spent a lot of time looking at Nose Tackles. Many of whom are very underrated: Tupou at Colorado, Grover Stewart from Albany, Glen Antoine from Idaho. But I think the move is Stevie T. I like his tape the best as a true Nose, with balanced ability to anchor vs the run but also push the pocket vs the pass. He could be Vince Wilfork for Seattle.
I’m not sure Tupou has much pass rush. I think Grover is actually miscast as a NT, but should instead play base 3T a’la Alan Branch. And I think you can get Antoine in UDFA.
t-214 – Outside Linebacker, Colorado, Jimmie Gilbert
It was very tempting for me to take one of the two similar, high SPARQ, OTTO type OLB early in the draft (Watt and Bowser). They’re both more obvious Bruce Irvin types thanks to their testing and sack-rates. But the guy that has similar skillsets, that is completely going overlooked, but still had decent testing and good production; is Gilbert.
People will be concerned about his size. He looks really skinny on tape…reported to the Shrine Game at 223 lbs…that’s his “defect”. But by his pro day he came in at 234 lbs (pretty normal for an OLB), and thinks he will be in the 240-245 range when he is drafted.
That would put his measurements at 6’4″/240lbs, 34 1/8″ arm length, with a 4.61s forty, 37″ vertical, 10’00” broad jump which he completed with a tweaked hamstring.
More than anything, I just LOVE the way he plays football. I mean, he put stuff on tape that doesn’t even make sense in the context of him playing 2016 at 220 lbs, going up against 315 lb offensive tackles. He compensates with immaculate technique. He knows angles and leverage unlike pretty much everyone in this draft.
His final stat line was: 62 tackles, 14.0 TFL, 10.0 sacks, 3 PBU, 7 QB hurries, and 6 forced fumbles (#2 in the nation). That’s better than the Senior season Bruce Irvin put up.
226 – Offensive Tackle, Alabama State, Jylan Ware
Day Three picks are often about upside from athleticism, so I think a pick from the likes of:
RB Aaron Jones
FB Algernon Brown
TE Tyler Scalzi
DB Brandon Wilson
DB Jason Thompson
OG Kofi Amichia
…would make sense. I really, really wanted to make B Wilson fit in somewhere here because of his ability to play DB, return kicks, AND play some running back. Similarly, Scalzi can play FB/TE/LS. Those two guys in particular would lengthen your roster dramatically.
I went with Jylan Ware because he’s absolute prototypical OT build at 6’7″/317 lbs. He ran a 4.99s forty with 29″ vert, and 9’05” broad. And the limited tape I saw on him was pretty solid.
The above list is a good place to start if any of those names should fall far enough. Also:
CB Xavier Coleman, Ryan Lewis
S DJ May
FB Tim Cook
QB Dakota Prukop, Eli Jenkins, Tommy Armstrong
OL Dustin Stanton, Cam Keizur
TE Andy Avgi
DL/FB Tueni Lupeamanu
LEO JT Jones
WR Tim White, Trent Taylor
I think my mock is missing a QB cause I don’t expect Boykin to return. I think I’m missing a WR that can return punts/kicks cause I think Lockett needs to NOT do those anymore. I think I’m missing a running back cause they need to add one of those every year. And I think I’m missing a fullback cause I think they are looking for one. But…those are ALL positions where Seattle has found 53-man roster members from the ranks of their UDFA classes in years past. Calculated gambles this year, too.
Final draft: 4 trades, 10 picks.
DB Budda Baker
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
DL Dawuane Smoot
TE George Kittle
WR Mack Hollins
DB John Johnson
K Zane Gonzalez
DT Stevie Tu’ikolovatu
OLB Jimmie Gilbert
OT Jylan Ware
If the goal is finding smart, tough, reliable players; I think this is a group that is exactly that, top-to-bottom.
Thanks for following along all year on twitter, for reading the blog throughout the inaugural season on the new site, and for patience in general. Hope we get some gems this weekend. See you in May for the 2018 class!