By Jared Stanger
It’s DRAFT SEASON!!!
Sorry. That’s my pseudo-silver lining of getting knocked out of the playoffs. With Seattle losing the wild-card round, Indy upsetting Houston, Philly upsetting Chicago, and Baltimore having a higher strength of schedule…we can expect Seattle to begin the draft at #21 overall. With only four picks currently allotted to Seattle, and a pretty strong draft class; it makes the most sense for Seattle to trade back.
I’ve designed four trades at various depths:
Oakland- #1.28 + #4.99 + #5.147
Green Bay – #1.32 + #3.75
Oakland – #2.35 + #3.66
Jacksonville – #2.38 + #3.69 + #7.198
Oakland already has three 1st round picks and may not need to move up, but as you can see they have a lot of options. Green Bay has 10 picks currently so they’d have the capital to move up. Jacksonville…I just sort of like that fit.
While I don’t think it is the most plausible option; here I’m going to do the second Oakland option and move back to #35…mostly because I really want that #66.
So adjusted draft board:
From there it’s a bit easier to trade back again to add some picks late in the 6th-7th. Detroit has two 6’s and two 7’s, so one possibility is moving #84 back to #88 and adding #6.187 and #7.206.
For the player selections; I started to write a mock that answered the fan-consensus wish-list, which included getting a safety early. This is a pretty shallow safety class and I really didn’t like the results at the other positions I was getting after forcing a safety pick. So I pivoted to just writing what I hope and think is a good draft.
Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was very nearly the pick here, but I’m just not a fan of getting behind my board. I prefer to draft from the depth of the class. I prefer to be working ahead of my board. Sometimes that has the perception of “reaching”…I like to think it’s more accurately being prescient and correctly valuing that which is otherwise undervalued. Offensive linemen are always undervalued in media mock drafts. They inevitably go higher than projected because of the difficulty finding them.
OL, Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
Deiter is one of a few interior OL that I’m especially interested in this draft. Two are currently at LG, one is at OC. Two have played multiple positions and could, likely, start at either in the NFL. Deiter has been the most versatile of the three I’m watching with work at all of OT, OG, and OC. I don’t think he has the length to play OT professionally, but I feel very confident he could play any of the interior spots.
My intent here is to allow the team to let one of JR Sweezy or DJ Fluker to walk in free agency, but extend the other; while also not being obligated to Pocic and/or Britt if they are not Solari guys.
Deiter (6’6″/310lbs) continues the great tradition of Wisconsin OL. Watching multiple games of his; I never seemed to find any minus plays. I never felt he was out-matched. And sidenote: a Wisconsin RB led the FBS in rushing with very nearly 2200 yards and 16 TD’s running behind Deiter and co. If Pete plans to continue with his offensive philosophy; I prefer to do it with someone the quality of Deiter.
In the 3rd round, with two picks, I think you try to take advantage of the greatest depth of this draft, which is the defensive line.
The biggest challenge with studying DE for this draft is: which kind of DE do we need?? There is the the DE/DT hybrid that Michael Bennett once was. There is the pure passrush LEO that Cliff Avril was. There is the DE/OLB OTTO type that Bruce Irvin came to be, and that Mingo has sort of been. There is the 3-4 DE like Quinton Jefferson. Basically, you can find history of DE in every weight class: 240 (Martin), 250 (Irvin), 260 (Clark), 270 (Bennett), 280 (Jordan), 290 (Jefferson).
Further questions for the DE draft: what, exactly, is Frank Clark?? A 265-lb LEO?? Does his counterpart need to be more 245lb speed rusher, or 285lb DE/DT hybrid? Whose snaps do you want to take away from going forward? Jacob Martin or Quinton Jefferson/Dion Jordan? Those questions can only be answered by Coach Carroll (and by the players that continue to improve, force playing time, and not need to be upgraded).
Answers to those questions, minus what is off the board, gets you down to a shortlist somewhere in the range of: Jaylon Ferguson, Jalen Jelks, D’andre Walker, Christian Miller, Joe Jackson, Austin Bryant, Jordan Brailford. I like Malik Carney, too, but I can’t see him picked before the 5th round. Of this group, my hunch tells me Seattle narrows it down to Walker and Miller.
DE, Christian Miller, Alabama
I like Miller’s build (6’4″/244lbs). I like his intangibles (Bama permanent Captain). I like his production (8.5 sacks, 11.5 TFL, 12 Hurries). I’m not as sure about his tape. The tape feels like a lot of coverage sacks. Sort of reminds me of Rasheem Green’s 2017 season tape. Green was cleaning up a lot of Uchenna Nwosu pressures…Miller is cleaning up a lot of Quinnen Williams/etc pressures.
But, Seattle drafted Green. So what I see and what they see don’t necessarily match up. This is probably the lone pick this mock that I’m leaning more on what they WOULD do than what they SHOULD do.
The 3rd round, for whatever reason, always hits me as the most important round in the draft. It seems consistently the last round where 1st round talent have slid due to positional value, mild redflags, or just not fitting earlier. The 3rd round can help you plan strategy for how to draft in the 1st and 2nd.
This player at this value is why I went a little off-script at #35.
S, Darnell Savage, Maryland
Unlike other positions where you narrow to a short list and then narrow again; Safety this year I only have a short-short list. Savage (5’11″/200lbs) is one of two that check off most of my wishlist: range, IQ, ballskills, tackling (we’ll find out about speed at the combine).
If Savage doesn’t come out of the Combine with single-high safety speed; I feel very confident with him as a box safety. He is excellent playing the run.
The 4th round is pretty wide open. Could be a nice WR here, could be a TE to hedge for Dissly’s health, could be CB depth. I’m going with LB and letting KJ Wright and his iffy knee walk in free agency. And really my pick is more like the profile of Mychal Kendricks’ skillset; in case we can’t re-sign him or he’s in jail.
LB, Tre Watson, Maryland
I started catching on to Watson (6’2″/236lbs) while watching Savage. I think he’s a hell of a football player. Really underrated. So underrated he might be available a round or two later than this. I won’t risk it.
Watson is a very well-rounded player. Showing high IQ, huge power, clean tackling, and upper-end coverage skills for the position (10th in the country in INT-5).
Kam Chancellor was always a linebacker miscast as a Safety. Watson is playing like Bam Bam but with more obvious casting.
This specific pick is my “Jacob Martin” pick for 2019. I love this guy’s makeup, comes from another AAC school, very solid tape and production.
DL, Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati
Broughton has some of the best get-off from a DL (either DE or DT) that I’ve seen all year. He’s currently listed 6’2″/290lbs, but looking pretty loose in the cage. I think I’d try to trim him down to more like 275lbs and try to get Michael Bennett out of him.
I think the last two picks have something in common: they are positions where this class doesn’t have obvious, elite players at the top end, and the back end is all over the place/dealer’s choice. I’m not sure which player(s) from each position will fall, but someone from a good list will be there.
At WR the list could run something like: Emanuel Hall, Darius Slayton, Greg Dortch, Terry McLaurin, Travis Fulgham, Keesean Johnson.
WR, Terry McLaurin, Ohio State
A lot of Seahawk fans are asking for a “big” WR…why? The 2018 season was all about Lock and ADB (and for a minute Moore) and their ability to make plays deep. I don’t see any reason to alter from that path. Hall, McLaurin, Slayton are statistically three of the top 20 deep threats in the country, and that includes underclassmen. Fulgham is in the conversation if you look at explosives rather than YPC.
I’m going McLaurin for his receiving, blocking, and special teams combo platter.
Here’s a look at McLaurin’s blocking.
Cornerback is a similar story to receiver this year. There’s enough guys with enough upside, but not a clean profile or big enough buzz to go early, that somebody will fall. Maybe not to the 7th. Maybe you flip CB to the 7th and try to get Broughton later.
The shortlist goes: Justin Layne, Corey Ballentine, Xavier Crawford, Isaiah Johnson, Joejuan Williams.
CB, Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt
I think Crawford is a really sneaky pick and could give you a slot guy should Seattle not re-up Coleman, but I’m going with the 6’3″/208lbs Williams.
The upside for Joejuan is massive. You get him any time day 3 you’re probably pulling great value.
2.35- OL Michael Deiter
3.66- DE Christian Miller
3.88- S Darnell Savage
4.117- LB Tre Watson
5.148- DL Cortez Broughton
6.187- WR Terry McLaurin
7.206- CB Joejuan Williams
Obviously, it’s a defense-centric mock. But in a pretty strong defense-centric draftclass; it is appropriate. Plus, it adds reinforcements to the rebuilding Seattle defense which, contrary to the predominant conversation post-wildcard loss, is the weaker half of the ball for this team.
I would have loved to find slots to draft Florida RB Jordan Scarlett, WVU TE Trevon Wesco, and SDSU PK John Baron, but Scarlett just isn’t enough of a need, and the other two might fall to undrafted free agency. I prioritized what I thought wouldn’t go unpicked. If John Schneider can manage to trade some vet players for picks; all the better. But for now, getting back to our basic seven picks was a must.