By Jared Stanger
Welcome to August. We’re roughly four days into NFL preseason, and meaningful football is 20 days away in college and I think I counted 32 days away for NFL. It’s about time for my first Seahawks 2018 mock draft.
I’m not entirely sure where Seattle stands on total draft picks. I suspect they will forfeit a pick for the skirmish that ended with Frank Clark punching Germain Ifedi. Probably a 3rd rounder. But I will figure that out later. Right now, I’m just looking to primarily make some sense of what the team needs to do this year. This will just be 7 picks for 7 rounds.
We hear John Schneider talk a lot about the “three-year plan”…I sketched out a pretty basic two-year plan just to give myself a big-picture view. Then, I’m factoring in my early sense of what is coming in this next draft in terms of positional strengths/weaknesses.
I glanced at maybe three national writers’ 1st round mock drafts and I think all three gave Seattle an offensive tackle in the first. I don’t think they realize what the team thinks about George Fant. Or, at least, how much the team values Fant’s pricetag for the next two years. Now, in 2019, it’s probably a different story.
If anything on OL; 2018 probably needs to be more about drafting an interior OL. Joeckel, Aboushi, and Britt are in contract years, and Glow has two years left. But…Odhiambo could be a hedge at LG, Pocic a hedge at OC, and Glow/Ifedi have time remaining as potential RG.
On the other hand, after the 2017 season, your potential OT’s will have (respectively) 1 year left plus RFA, 2 years left, and 3 years left. I don’t see it as a priority.
From an inventory standpoint, depending on underclass declares, either 2018 or 2019 will pop as a really good OT class. You sort of hope that the 2017 Juniors stay in school and the good class is in 2019, after Fant has played out his UDFA contract.
If the good class is this year…I don’t know. Drafting late in rounds from making the playoffs means you need to take advantage of deep position groups. I may retract my thought to pass on OT this year (at which point, I’m looking hard at Tyrell Crosby from Oregon as a guy with nice tape and low enough draft buzz to be there late 1st).
I think the two biggest needs for the 2018 draft are DE and TE. Tightend is kind of already a problem with both Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson in contract years. Defensive end will see (potentially) 3.5 losses in the next two years.
I think one of Cassius Marsh and Marcus Smith make the 2017 roster, and both are free agents next year. Then, in 2019, both Cliff Avril and Frank Clark are FA. Not all of these guys walk. But, arguably, you need two DE in the next two years.
If the top two needs are DE and TE, I think it’s pretty easy to prioritize…historically, you don’t need to draft a TE in the 1st round. Sack artists always get drafted early. Go with DE first.
For now, I’m putting Kansas DE/OLB Dorance Armstrong here. I think he’s a really cool player, but one that not everyone is buying yet. But at 6’4″/246lbs during his sophomore year in 2016, Dorance posted 10.0 sacks and 20.0 TFL. Pretty good production in a defense that isn’t exactly rife with NFL talent.
I think Dorance has more innate passrush ability than many higher-touted guys with better athleticism. I like guys that can get sacks/pressure on an island. No scheme, no stunts, just individual performance.
I think you next go straight to the glaring problem at TE. 2017 was a pretty nice TE class, and the team should have drafted one…probably could have had one in the 4th…but here we are. Maybe artificially forcing TE earlier than you’d like.
I think the Penn State TE, Mike Gesicki, is the most comparable to Graham in this class. But he’ll be gone. Some think the Oklahoma kid, Mark Andrews, is the next guy…I think he has problems. Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin is solid, but potentially too similar to Nick Vannett.
I like the small-school player: Dallas Goedert, from South Dakota State. Listed 6’4″/260 lbs, but he clearly moves like a lighter receiver, and he has great hands.
If they ARE considering OG, I think this is where you start looking. I think this has been a lucky round for them to target WR, and they do need to spend a top 3-round pick on WR in the next two drafts. Or, believe it or not, you consider CB.
Shead is a FA this year. Sherm is a FA after 2018. And we don’t know which Lane we’re going to see going forward, nor if he sees completion of his current deal.
I’m prioritizing CB over the other spots because CB is the spot I look at at training camp and think, “that position group is too shallow”. It needs numbers and it needs another “hit”.
I just found Dee Delaney in the last week. He’s got the right size at 6’1″/193lbs. He has good technique and physicality. And his production, though at a small school to this point, has been good.
In the 4th round, I have more of the idea of what I want to do than the actual answer. Seattle has been throwing all kinds of outside players at the SAM linebacker spot since Bruce Irvin left. Names like Garvin, Wilhoite, McDonald, and Alexander are all new to the system, but are also all (potentially) short to be in the system. All four of those will be in and out in the next two years. They need something more longterm, in my opinion.
They might, also, need a new backup to Bobby at the MIKE spot.
I’m curious about college names like Kenny Young, Lorenzo Carter, Elijah Lee.
For now, I will slot in Kenny Young because I think he can play all three LB spots.
In rounds 5th-7th, the picks can be less about need and more about interesting upside flyers. With Lacy on a one-year deal and the potential that Collins doesn’t make the team; I can see the team take a late-round pick on a RB.
Jordan Scarlett is a 5’10″/213lb back without a ton of wear, with great speed, and who finishes runs really aggressively.
As I described earlier, I think there is potential that Seattle has hedged all of its OL positions so as not to need any early picks on the line. This will be a depth/future pick.
Ike Boettger from Iowa is a 6’6″/307lb LT that I will project as a guard due to his performance in run game, and degree of struggle in pass pro.
Paul Richardson is a FA after this year, so it would be good to draft someone with some great deep speed. Maybe someone like Allenzae Staggers at SoMiss or Van Jefferson at Ole Miss.
I’m mocking Michael Gallup from CSU for his all-around game. He won’t last this long, though.
1st- DE Dorance Armstrong
2nd- TE Dallas Goedert
3rd- CB Dee Delaney
4th- LB Kenny Young
5th- RB Jordan Scarlett
6th- OL Ike Boettger
7th- WR Michael Gallup