By Jared Stanger
I am sooo ready for this draft to happen. Let’s just do it already. So for this mock draft, I’m not going to spend a ton of time talking about the scouting breakdown of the players. I’ve written about most of these players before. This will be a bit more about how to execute acquiring this collection of players.
We’ll start by trading back the #18 overall. I’m going to hope New England has their sights set on QB Lamar Jackson and will move up to get him. I will trade Seattle’s #18 + #120 for New England’s #31 + #63 + #95. This trade is within 2.5 pts on the new trade chart.
And then, somewhere between the start of the 1st and the middle of the 2nd, I’m trading Earl Thomas to Dallas for their 2018 and 2019 2nd round picks (#50 this year). Then I flip #50 plus one of our 5th’s to Houston (who don’t have any picks in rounds 1, 2, and 5) for two of their three 3rd rounders. #50 + #146 for #68 + #80.
Seattle has had trades with both New England and Houston in the last year, so there is presumably good relationships there to accomplish these trades. I’m trying to think if Schneider has ever done a deal with Jerry but coming up blank. But I think it’s a reasonable deal.
These three trades would put Seattle’s board at:
1.31, 2.63, 3.68, 3.80, 3.95, 5.141, 5.156, 5.168, 7.226, 7.248, 7.250
That is 11 picks. We manage to stay in the 1st round, and also manage to get four picks on day two. Seattle has often been mentioned wanting to draft 10 times this year (and most years), but it’s pretty easy to find use of 11 or 12 picks.
Here we go.
#31 – OL Billy Price
In a first draft to this final mock I had Seattle trading with Cleveland and starting off at #33. I’m a little nervous Price doesn’t last that long. So I modified the whole thing to the New England trade.
I’m hoping with a good group of interior OL available in this draft and Price’s lack of athletic testing after tearing a pec muscle on the bench press at the combine, he will be available here. Price’s most recent position was Center, but he’s also had at least one year playing each of right and left guard. When I dug it up, I kinda preferred Billy’s tape at LG. Either way, between he and Pocic you’ll have both guard spots set for three years. Plus, Price is as S-T-R as they come.
#63 – DE Duke Ejiofor
After going OL first, it’s a no-brainer that they go DL next. I have strong suspicions this pick at this value might go to Rasheem Green if he lasts, but I’m sticking with the guy I’ve had all year in Duke. I just think he’s the better player of the “Michael Bennett” types. He’s more pro-ready today, and there’s still some upside left in him.
In the past I’ve done pretty well looking for a value DL in guys like Preston Smith and Yannick Ngakoue, and Duke is my hope to be that guy this year.
#68 – Shaquem Griffin
For me, this pick came down to Deshon Elliott at Strong Safety and Shaquem Griffin. I’m going with Shaquem for his presence, his speed, and his versatility. He might be the strong safety I wanted in Elliott, but he also might be a SAM, and/or a 3rd down DPR (designated pass rusher). I mean, the possibilities are pretty intriguing. It’s tough to totally pin down where Shaquem’s draft value will be, and this may be a reach, but I’d rather just get it done.
#80 – CB Isaac Yiadom
Another guy, like Duke, that I’ve been with for most of the year and I’m just sticking with him to the end. He checks pretty much all of the boxes of a Seattle CB. I’d like to get him a little bit later than this, but it’s not worth getting cute. Pair him with Shaquill, Shaquem, and hopefully a stud FS, and you might have a whole new LOB.
#95 – Jaylen Samuels
Samuels is more similar to Billy Price, in that I wasn’t really thinking about him most of the year because of position labeling. But after he ran 4.54s at 6’0″/225lbs it sort of dawned on me that he’s a straight running back. He’s certainly not much different than David Johnson at 6’1″/224lbs, 4.50s (Johnson has way better jumps, but the agility scores are VERY similar).
I’ve had a sense for a while that Seattle would go with one of the Scarbrough/Ballage/Freeman type of RB this draft, and after some late cramming on his tape; I kinda feel like Samuels is the best of the group. He’d be a dope replacement for Prosise, and has the upside to be really good considering how much he checks off the S-T-R list.
#141 – FS Dane Cruikshank
This is a bit of a flyer. Having traded away Earl, we need to find a new Free Safety. I don’t necessarily need THEE answer at FS (I have my eye on a guy as Seattle’s first pick in 2019), but I want a guy with some upside to compete with Macdougald and/or Thompson for 2018.
Cruikshank has mixed projection as both corner and safety, but I’m projecting him at FS because of his 31″ arms, 4.41s speed, and really nice tackling.
The other option for me here (depending on the board) is Tony Brown, who I also would like to try at FS. Brown concerns me with his back to the QB, but sliding him deep to single-high FS, with the play always in front of him, and his 4.3 speed, may show him in a new light.
#156 – TE Durham Smythe
Arguably the best blocking TE in the class. Others may want an offensive weapon at TE, but A) I’m not sure that fits with Seattle’s re-commitment to the run game, B) I’m not sure there are enough of those guys available in this draft to overpay to get one. I mean, there’s basically four or five above-average TE athletes this year. And that’s not a very high bar. Don’t chase what the earth hasn’t provided.
Besides, Smythe is underrated as a received due to Notre Dame’s problems at QB. Go back and watch him in the Senior Bowl.
#168 – DL Jullian Taylor
Taylor is getting lots of late helium thanks to an impressive pro day performance. If you can get him here in the 5th, I think he’s a better value than a guy like Taven Bryan in the 1st. Jullian will be a sort of replacement for Malik McDowell that you hope you can get both 5tech and 3tech reps from.
#226 – QB J.T. Barrett
Personally, I value Barrett in the 5th round, and if I hadn’t traded away that other 5th I would take him there. But in most mocks, including the consensus mock, Barrett is frequently seen as an UDFA. I’ll take him here and love having a guy with his resume backing Russell up.
#248 – LB Jacob Martin
These last two picks are basically just guys you don’t think you can get in undrafted free agency, but want to make sure you get them on board. I could do anything here…another running back, another linebacker, a placekicker, a wide receiver. There were a ton of interesting options that came through VMAC as official visits. I’m going with Martin because of his athleticism to potentially play linebacker, mixed with his experience as an edge rusher. We didn’t draft a true Cliff Avril type (instead going with a Bennett and then a McDowell), so this is a bit of an undersized attempt at a Cliff. But it also gives your new defensive coordinator (a former linebacker) two new guys that can both run under 4.59.
#250 – PK Trevor Moore
If Seattle hadn’t signed Sebastian Janikowski they might have been able to get a kicker in UDFA. But with two PK’s currently rostered, I don’t think a rookie would choose to be one of three. As a draftpick he won’t have a choice. Moore is one of the better kickers I’ve found from 40+ yards.
Final tally: 4 offense, 6 defense, 1 special teams. I’m missing a WR, and I’d like to get a second RB, but those are both spots Seattle has had some success going through UDFA. With the RB depth in this class there should still be guys left in free agency. At WR, the team may have knowingly added via trade and vet free agency because they didn’t love the draft class.
1.31 Billy Price
2.63 Duke Ejiofor
3.68 Shaquem Griffin
3.80 Isaac Yiadom
3.95 Jaylen Samuels
5.141 Dane Cruikshank
5.156 Durham Smythe
5.168 Jullian Taylor
7.226 JT Barrett
7.248 Jacob Martin
7.250 Trevor Moore