By Jared Stanger
We are on the precipice of one of the most transitional offseasons in Seattle Seahawks history. The uncertainty of who is still going to be here coming week 1 of the 2018 season is massive.
The way John Schneider structured many of the vet contracts, including many of the 1-year guys signed just prior to 2017, have left a huge chunk of the roster about to hit free agency. Add to that the players that are coming off injuries this year, and may not hold as much value ON the team as being cap-cut OFF the team. Add to that viable, healthy players that may hold better value in trade than they do remaining on the team. It becomes a huge potential turnover.
So this article is going to be an attempt to locate players in the 2018 draft that would best replace pretty much every potential roster loss that could pop up here in a few weeks/months. There is no judgment about draft position or logistics of getting these guys drafted…it is simply, “okay, here is the 1A option if we lose X player.” Pretty much the only rule, for me, is that I’m not considering players that look locked in to a top-15 draft position.
God, where do we start?
TE Jimmy Graham – TE Mike Gesicki
With shared backgrounds as basketball players, and shared skills for running/high-pointing and shared flaws as blockers; if you want the guy this draft that can do similar things to Graham, I think you target Gesicki.
TE Luke Willson – TE Durham Smythe
I don’t know that this is a very close match. Smythe is a better blocker, and Willson is a better athlete. But from a roster standpoint, I think Seattle needs one fewer TE athlete and one more TE blocker. Ideally, this happens in concert with signing an athlete TE.
WR Tanner McEvoy – WR Marcell Ateman
2017 was a huge step back in performance for McEvoy, and as a player that you haven’t invested a ton in (2016 UDFA); I don’t think you sweat moving on from him very much. This draft has potentially a nice collection of WR that could represent a similar profile to Tanner. Contenders include Marcell Ateman, Allen Lazard, Jaleel Scott, Auden Tate, Simmie Cobbs, Equanimeous St Brown, Jake Wieneke.
I’m currently tending toward Ateman or Tate.
WR Paul Richardson – WR Cedrick Wilson
Part of me wants to say DJ Chark because he just had a nice Senior Bowl game, and is one of the top 5 deep threats in the country this year, but I just get a better sense of Cedrick Wilson’s overall game. Cedrick is showing more on screens, slants, crossers, while still being a decent deep threat; while DJ is far too one-trick as a go-route runner.
WR JD McKissic – WR DJ Moore
I’m calling McKissic a WR right here because, although they moved him to RB this year, with 46 rushes and 46 pass targets; McKissic was equal parts RB and WR. And the guy I’d replace him with is definitely more a WR. DJ Moore at 5’11″/215lbs is built very much like a RB, but with 80 receptions to 5 rushes, he has more experience at WR.
Moore’s game has many shades of Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin; so if you were to lose Doug or Tyler Lockett for some reason this year; Moore would also be my pick for their spot.
RB Eddie Lacy – RB Royce Freeman
This isn’t a like-for-like swap. This is replacing a guy that had to cut weight to get to 5’11″/238lbs, with a guy that makes 6’0″/238lbs look carved from stone. Freeman isn’t the broken tackles, hammer that Lacy was at one point. That role might have been better-filled by a Kareem Hunt last year. But Freeman is a tough-running, bell-cow, three-down type back.
RB Thomas Rawls – RB Ronald Jones
Again, not as much of a hammer going forward, but RoJo has enough broken tackle power, plus in his case it is augmented with truly elite speed. If you find that slow guys aren’t able to gain enough speed to hit holes with power, get guys that are fast enough to hit holes before they close.
RB CJ Prosise – RB Malik Williams
In this case, we’re gaining MORE of a hammer than what we’re losing. Prosise is notoriously fragile. Williams broke his arm in a game October 5th last year, but was back playing again with a few snaps on October 28th (then had a bye week, then played pretty significant snaps November 11th). I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of someone returning from a broken bone in 23 days. Regardless, Williams is 6’3″/221lbs and I think a sleeper in the making.
CB Jeremy Lane – CB Isaac Yiadom
This isn’t a great draft for CB’s. So if you’re thinking of getting multiple to replace Lane, Shead, and Sherman; you may need to reconsider. Yiadom rolled into the Senior Bowl measuring 6’1″/187lbs with 32 1/4″ arms. Mike Mayock (a fellow Boston College alum) kept saying on the broadcast that Isaac has 4.4 speed. For comparison, Lane came out of school at 6’0″/190lbs with a 4.48s official forty.
OG Luke Joeckel – OL Connor Williams
There are, potentially, a ton of moving parts on the OL. Joeckel is UFA, Britt may be a trade piece, Ifedi may be moved off of RT, etc. The options at LG could include Rees Odhiambo, Ethan Pocic, free agent, draftpick LG, draftpick LT moved to LG.
Will Hernandez might be a guy that Solari will really be drawn to at LG. Wyatt Teller might be a slightly lesser talent with better athleticism. Both are pretty nasty. And then there is a slight possibility that a guy like Connor Williams is still available and could play LG for a year or two before returning to LT.
I’m gonna go with the guy more similar to Joeckel, the current LT Connor Williams.
OT Germain Ifedi – OT Tyrell Crosby
The report is that new OL coach Mike Solari prefers athletic OT, in which case we may see justice with Ifedi moved back to RG or benched. The more athletic OT in this draft is Brian O’Neill, but the better OT in this draft (with athleticism that may surprise at the combine) is Tyrell Crosby.
Tyrell hasn’t played RT in 2-3 years, but he has done it and pretty well. I posted some of his freshman tape going against Joey Bosa. Plus, Tyrell would give you that Ryan Ramczyk option of filling in at LT if Duane Brown misses time.
OLB Dewey McDonald – Shaquem Griffin
I actually like Shaquem better, in theory, as a strong safety, but he wouldn’t be my first pick there. Shaquem at 223lbs is not far off from the likes of Mike Morgan or Malcolm Smith when they came out of USC, in terms of size. It’s possible he plays OLB. He would definitely be a special teams stud (and probably future captain there).
OLB Terence Garvin/Michael Wilhoite – LB Darius Leonard
Seattle has quite a few LB spots that might need plugging. They pulled a bunch from free agency last year, and may find some more gems that way in UFA this year. Leonard led all players in tackles at the Senior Bowl yesterday and is emerging with some more buzz recently. I think he could hedge you at SLB1 and ILB2.
DT Sheldon Richardson – DT Sheldon Richardson
2 things: 1) Sheldon’s market and price may not be what we had heard it would be when we first acquired him. But I get the sense both sides could be interested in at least a 1-year deal. 2) I really don’t like the draft class at DT. If I had to do it; I’d take a flyer on a guy like Kentavious Street or Drew Bailey.
DL Malik McDowell – DL Dion Jordan
This should really be a pretty high priority.
DE Cliff Avril – DE Dorance Armstrong
Full disclosure: I don’t like replacing Cliff this year. Not from the draft. But I think he needs to be in this story because he’s one of the players most likely to not return. Dorance Armstrong is not as big as Cliff, nor did he have a good year in 2017. He was the best defender on a bad Kansas team, and I think teams could gameplan around him with doubles and counter-playcalling. His production fell from 10 sacks, 20 TFL in 2016 to 1.5 sacks, 9 TFL this year. Pretty brutal. He was forced to become more of a run and chase LB. But the passrush upside once looked like this:
DE Michael Bennett – DE Duke Ejiofor
I think this one is one of the closest comps. Bennett is 6’4″/274lbs, Ejiofor is listed 6’4″/275lbs. Bennett plays DE and can rush at DT on 3rd down. Ejiofor has done the same at Wake Forest. I even noticed Bennett used a two-hand swipe in the pro bowl from the left side that I’m about to show you from Duke coming from RDE.
And, since Bennett plays a couple different spots, Duke gets a second video of him at DT.
SS Kam Chancellor – SS Deshon Elliott
I’ve read some question Deshon’s athleticism. I hope that is because they’re thinking of him as a Free Safety. Even then, I sort of don’t see it. But either way, whatever athleticism he has will play up more at Strong Safety. He has plenty of size at 6’2″/210lbs and really strong tackling to play up in he box. There are some guys in this draft that probably hit harder than Elliott, but I’m going with a higher floor player.
FS Earl Thomas – FS Jeremy Reaves
Reaves has a strong physical resemblance to Earl (5’11″/204lbs to 5’10″/210lbs), and hopefully he can hit a 4.4s forty. Earl’s a 4.3 guy, but that’s really tough to find ever, and especially without a top-15 pick.
FB __ – FB Nick Bawden
Seattle never really replaced Tre Madden as their rostered fullback, so they may keep that spot unoccupied. If they don’t; I’ll take the guy that lead-blocked for the leading rusher in the country. He’s a brute, but he also shares a trait with former FB Michael Robinson: he used to play QB.
PK Blair Walsh – Daniel Day-Lewis character from “My Left Foot”
I mean…it couldn’t be worse, right??
But seriously…I’ve got Trevor Moore as the nice value pick at PK. His accuracy over 40 yards was one of the better marks in the country.
P Jon Ryan – P Michael Dickson
I think the back end of the 2018 draft class is pretty thin, so taking a punter or a kicker makes a certain amount of sense. Dickson was 3rd in the country last year in average punt yardage.
QB Austin Davis – QB Kyle Lauletta
My hunch is that with Davis’ experience working with Brian Schottenheimer, the team will bring Davis back. But if they decide to go younger, I was EXTREMELY impressed with Lauletta in the Senior Bowl. I even went back to some of his 2017 tape while the Senior Bowl was still going on.
I know there may be 2-3 more guys I didn’t cover specifically, either because they were more a bench player or their spot could be covered by someone else on this list.
Bookmark this page, because my hunch is it may be a really cool revisit after the draft.