By Jared Stanger
Time for a quick and easy, post-combine 7-round mock draft.
The Seahawks are beginning with four picks: #1.21, #3.84, #4.123, #5.159. John Schneider has been completely transparent about his desire to add to that. I’m looking to hit certain spots where the value is most concentrated. I don’t think it’s a likely trade, but it’s the cleanest way to get where I want to be…so my first trade is #21 to Oakland for #35 and #66.
Now, with an early 2nd, and early 3rd round picks added, I feel comfortable moving Seattle’s native 3rd round pick (#84) back 10-12 spots. I like Washington here because they have two-3rd, two-5th, two-6th, and two-7th to negotiate around. We’ll start with their later 3rd round pick at #96, and then I’d ask for both of their 5th’s (#153 + #173).
So then, in this hypothetical, Seattle would hold three picks in the 5th. I would trade the middle pick of those three (#159) to Green Bay for the Packers’ two 6th’s (#185 + #194).
These three trades would double the Seahawks draft class from four picks to eight. It doesn’t give them anything in the 7th, but my impression is that this year will be a great year to find players with draftable grades still on the board for rookie free agency. Give yourselves the entirety of the 7th round to prepare for the phone frenzy of UDFA.
After the inital 34 picks; Seattle would never be off the clock for more than 31 picks. Now, let’s pick some players.
#2.35 – Florida DB, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
I wish Chauncey had tested a little bit faster at the Combine than the 4.48s forty time he managed. But, then again, if he had run faster he might not be available at #35.
Chauncey is a safety in name, but he was very much a nickel corner in 2018 tape for Florida. And he played the role surprisingly well. I’m not ruling out using him to replace Justin Coleman in 2019. But if you’d rather use him to replace Tedric Thompson at Free Safety; I’m cool with that, too. I think the versatility is valuable.
Of the Safeties at the Combine; Chauncey was the 4th-heaviest, while also running the 8th-fastest forty time. While not an extreme athlete; CGJ is markedly more athletic than Tedric, Shalom, Delano, and Bradley. And I just think he’s a very balanced player. He’s not more reliant on either his run defense or his cover skills. He could play free, strong, or nickel.
My other pick at Safety would be Darnell Savage, who really made some money by running a 4.36s official forty. I don’t think he’s as strong as Chauncey in coverage, so I’d want about a one-round discount before taking Darnell.
#3.66 – Iowa DE, Anthony Nelson
I had versions of this mock where I was trying to get an offensive lineman about this spot; but really the OL that I liked best are shooting up draftboards after elite Combine testing. So I’m pivoting to the defensive line.
There are a million mock drafts where writers are giving the Seahawks some version of a LEO. I, for one, don’t believe that is really the type of DL Seattle needs right now. We don’t need the Cliff Avril profile…we need the Michael Bennett role.
Unfortunately, after the combine, there became a pretty clear divide among the guys that fit the 5-tech/3-tech hybrid profile. There are now the athletic guys that will be going 1st to mid-2nd round, and then a dropoff to the under-athletic group that you have to decide if their tape is strong enough to overrule poor testing, and worth a 3rd round selection.
The latter group is the Dre’mont Jones, LJ Collier, Kingsley Keke, Daniel Wise. Instead of taking one of those guys; I’m taking a more pure DE with great size, length, and 75th percentile athleticism.
Anthony Nelson comes in at 6’7″/271lbs, plus 34 7/8″ arms. But even at that size he posted similar agility scores to the 6’3″/256lb Chase Winovich, but Nelson had much better explosion scores in his jumps. I’m thinking instead of drafting a guy that is already 275-280 lbs; try to get Nelson to add a few lbs to a frame that should be able to hold it.
In addition to the really nice physical profile; I like a lot of Nelson’s technique more than his peers’. Nelson shows a lot of present refinement, and potential future upside in his assortment of hand-usages. He just needs to get a bit stronger, a bit more consistent. Nellie was a 9.5 sack collegiate player last year…I think he can be a very solid 8 sack pro player, which is great value in the 3rd round.
#3.96 – Northern Illinois OT, Max Scharping
I’ve had Scharping in earlier mock drafts and I’m coming back to him after the Combine. For a time I hoped Kaleb McGary would slip to the late 2nd round, but I’m now hearing he doesn’t fall out of the 1st. So I’m back to Max.
There’s sort of a common scouting thought on OL that you want to find a guy that posts 30 bench reps, 30″ vert, and 9′ broad jump. For whatever reason, you really just don’t see that many OL pushing 30 reps on the bench anymore. This year saw only five OL hit 30+ bench reps, whereas there were twelve guys posting 30″+ vert, and 19 different guys jumped 9’0″+ in the broad.
Scharping hit 27 bench, 28″ vert, and 9’0″ broad. Pretty close to the 30/30/9. I’m hoping you can move Scharping to right tackle where he could compare favorably to guys like Jack Conklin or Ryan Ramczyk.
Max strikes me as the kind of player Seattle’s front office would label Smart-Tough-Reliable.
#4.123 – West Virginia WR, Gary Jennings
I don’t have a super strong feel for what kind of WR Seattle may draft this year. I have a collection of traits that I believe they frequently target, and varying lists of players that fit under each of those traits. Gary Jennings is the one guy that seems to hit the middle of the four-way Venn diagram and possesses fairly high degree of each of my traits lists.
Jennings measured out 6’1″/214lbs, and then tested at a very solid 4.42s forty with 37″ vert, and 10’5/8″ broad. The one negative is that I think Seattle likes a good 3-cone from their WR, and Jennings’ cone was his worst test: (7.32).
Production-wise; Jennings posted 54 catches, 917 yards, 16.98ypc, and 13 TD (6th in the country). My idea here is: the new Jermaine Kearse.
If Seattle does truly value the cone score; perhaps they pivot more towards fellow WVU receiver David Sills.
#5.153 – Baylor CB, Derrek Thomas
Seattle has multiple Corners heading to free agency in Justin Coleman and Neiko Thorpe. I don’t love this draft class for players that fit as a Seahawk slot CB. I would try to re-sign Coleman, or some other vet free agent slot guy, and then look to the draft to replace Neiko.
Derrek Thomas is a former WR, that is still raw at the CB spot, but he measured 6’3″/189lbs, with 33 6/8″ arms. Then he tested to a 4.44s forty, 39.5″ vert, and 10’11” broad. The raw materials are very intriguing.
#5.173 – West Virginia TE, Trevon Wesco
This pick seems one of the most obvious to be a Seahawk pick. Especially in light of the pick of (and subsequent injury to) Will Dissly last year. Wesco gives you a very similar profile to Dissly and hedges his return to health for 2019.
The highlight here is Wesco’s run-blocking, with some underrated, underused receiving ability.
#6.185 – Cincinnati DL, Cortez Broughton
Cortez is the opposite of the Anthony Nelson pick where you have a DE add weight to become DE/DT hybrid. Tez I could see cut a little weight and add some DE work to his regular DT position.
#6.194 – Maryland LB, Tre Watson
With both KJ Wright and Mychal Kendricks free agents and question marks for 2019; I have to draft at least one OLB. I really wanted to find a spot to also add a Barkevious Mingo type OLB with some passrush chops (Justin Hollins, Malik Carney, Jamal Davis, Jordan Brailford) but I just couldn’t make the numbers work. Instead I’m securing a traditional off the ball LB.
I think Watson is one of the more underrated players in this class. He really stuffed the stat sheet for the Terps: 114 tackles (70 solo), 3 TFL, 1 sack, 5 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FF. A linebacker that can cover is hugely valuable in the new NFL.
In addition to a passrushing OLB, my mock is also missing an OG (Terronne Prescod) and a placekicker (John Baron). The former may be filled in vet free agency and the latter we can target in rookie free agency.
Final draft haul:
2.35 S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
3.66 DE Anthony Nelson
3.96 OT Max Scharping
4.123 WR Gary Jennings
5.153 CB Derrek Thomas
5.173 TE Trevon Wesco
6.185 DL Cortez Broughton
6.194 LB Tre Watson