By Jared Stanger
As we sit today, with the Seahawks yet to play on MNF, I’ve got Seattle (as a #5 seed) drafting at #24 overall. They win on Monday, they will take over the NFC West lead and the #2 seed from this conference and move to #29 overall. That’s a big swing. I’ll be writing this for the 5-seed numbers.
Seattle’s full draft board, I believe, runs approximately as follows:
#1.24, #2.56, #2.58, #3.100, #4.129, #4.141, #5.158, #6.211, #7.245
I very much like this draft class at SAM LB which gives us a chance to replace Mychal Kendricks. Actually, I think we are looking for a guy that fits somewhere between Kendricks and Bruce Irvin in terms of skillset(s) and usage.
#1.58 – LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Zack Baun is listed 6’3″/235lbs. Kendricks combined at 5’11″/239lbs, Irvin combined at 6’3″/245lbs. So you’d like to see Baun add some weight between now and the combine, but it really doesn’t need to be as much as some might suggest. Other guys that I think add interesting context: Shaq Barrett 6’2″/251lbs, and fellow Badger TJ Watt at 6’4″/252lbs.
In terms of valuating Baun in the 1st round…nobody else has him this high. I’m basing this off of Baun’s production and eyeball estimation of how I think he is going to perform at the combine. Baun is top 10 in the country with his 11.5 sacks and 18.5 TFL. Additionally, he has 10 hurries, 2 PBU, 1 INT, 2 FF, and 62 tackles.
I was close to putting Michigan OLB/DE Josh Uche here, but a) Baun had the better game this week, b) Baun would work better in the Kendricks role, playing in coverage and allowing Seattle to stay in three-linebacker base more often.
Part of the reason I’m pivoting to a LB/DE in the 1st round is because my primary 1st round interest, OT Jedrick Wills, has become too hot to last until the last third of the 1st round. But it’s still important in this good OT class to draft replacement for Germain Ifedi, George Fant, or both.
#2.56 – OT Josh Jones, Houston
Jones has a few things going for him. He’s a great size: 6’7″/310lbs with good length and feet light enough to stick at LT. He’s put up very good tape and good analytics.
In this scenario, Jones begins his career as a right tackle while Duane Brown works through the last of his Seattle contract. But longterm Jones should be able to play left tackle.
Maybe the smarter move is drafting Jones in the 1st and trying to get Baun/Uche in the 2nd…we’ll know better after everybody tests at the combine…but for now I see passrush as a higher priority.
With two picks in the 2nd round, that are projecting to end up very close together, it may be a coinflip as to which to prioritize first. I’m prioritizing WR second in the 2nd because the depth of the spot should allow a better player from the WR class to be on the board later. I’m currently focusing in on five WR: Antonio Gandy Golden, Omar Bayless, Michael Pittman, Isaiah Hodgins, Chase Claypool.
#2.58 – WR Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State
The thing about my group of five WR, they all hold similar profiles. All are in the ballpark of 6’3″/210lbs+. All are top 25 in the country in both TD’s and explosive catches. All are projected available in the 2nd (or later).
In a literal sense Seattle could end up drafting a replacement for Josh Gordon, but does that mean the guy that is the most similar to Gordon? If so, I would go more for Gandy Golden. If we’re just drafting a WR that will take the vacated roster spot opened by UFA Gordon, and that creates the best mix with Lockett, Metcalf, Turner, and Ursua; I like Hodgins. With Lock and Ursua both small targets; I like a bigger body this year. With Metcalf’s shakey hands and weird inability to win jumpballs even though he is so big; I want a guy with rock solid hands and good vertical game.
Pittman has statistically the best hands, but AGG and Hodgins both also have some incredible hands catches on their reel. Pittman and AGG are very good in the air, and Claypool has at least 13 contested catches on the year. You seeing yet how hard it is to rank the WR this year??
The big reason I’m going with Hodgins is his route running. He’s got elements of the jumpballs and great hands that the other guys have, but I just think he’s so far advanced from the others on his routes. His releases are more like a 5’11” slot guy.
This next pick I really don’t want to make, but without knowing more about in-house free agent extensions; they need to do it.
#3.100- DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Seattle currently stands to lose Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, Quinton Jefferson, and Branden Jackson in free agency. And while Zack Baun is a pretty good passrusher; he’s nowhere near the weight class of this group (255, 275, 291, 295…average of 279lbs). Davidson is listed at 6’3″/278lbs. With so many free agents and a few lingering development questions on Rasheem Green and LJ Collier; we need another body. Preferably one that might be able to play some DT.
Marlon brings some interesting traits to the table. He has better dip and bend than you might expect from a guy his size. He’s a hell of a field goal kick blocker.
#4.129- OL Robert Hunt, Lafayette
When you have a deep class at a given position in a given year; I think it best to try to get multiple at that position. This year, I think you try to draft two OT and two WR.
Hunt is listed at 6’5″/322lbs, which happens to look very much like Mike Solari seems to prefer his OL. Hunt has been starting at right tackle this year for Lafayette, but also has experience as a guard. With both Iupati and Ifedi pending free agents I like Hunt as a hedge for two spots. He’s got good tape and pass-block efficiency marks.
#4.141- DB Jeremy Chinn, SIU
Chinn is a safety for Southern Illinois, and interestingly Seattle really doesn’t have any safeties heading to free agency. What they really need is a nickel, since they never really replaced Jamar Taylor after he was cut. But the other interesting part is that Akeem King, who has played nickel vs certain teams that run TE-heavy formations, WILL be a free agent. And what was King in college? A safety. a 6’3″/212lb safety.
Jeremy Chinn is listed at exactly 6’3″/212lbs. And I just love this guy’s profile. Great tackler, good range, obviously the size, he’s played at least 2 games at corner in 2018, and much like King; Chinn is an incredible blitzer.
#5.158- DT Davon Hamilton, Ohio State
It seems like the Seahawks frequently take these late-round flyers on defensive tackles. Last year it was Demarcus Christmas, 2016 it was Quinton Jefferson, 2014 it was Jimmy Staten, 2011 it was Pep Levingston. And three other times they drafted a DT late and attempted to convert them to OL.
If you can get Hamilton this late; I think he’d be the best of the bunch. I think he’s Jarran Reed 2.0 with none of the hype.
Jarran 2015: 6’4″/313lbs, 57 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks.
Davon 2019: 6’4″/310lbs, 22 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks.
This would give you a hedge for either of Reed or Al Woods leaving in free agency.
#6.211- WR Van Jefferson, Florida
As I said about the OT, it’s best to double-dip when the dipping is good. With both Josh Gordon and Jaron Brown free to leave after the season (and maybe David Moore), might as well draft two WR.
Van Jefferson is supremely underrated this year. Good size, great routes, and he can play special teams.
#7.245- OC Matt Hennessy, Temple
There are a few places I could have gone with this pick. I think we need to add another TE as that position group has been a shambles all year, but I don’t like the class. Prosise is walking in free agency (probably more of a limp to free agency), but I also don’t love the RB’s. And then there’s Justin Britt coming back from knee injury, Joey Hunt going to free agency, and Ethan Pocic only recently pulled back from IR and probably returning to playing center.
I only recently started watching some center tape, but of the 8-10 guys I watched for the first time, Hennessy was the only one that I really liked. He’s a bit undersized at listed 295lbs and Solari would almost certainly try to bulk him up, but he’s got a good frame to build on, and he’s a really smart kid. If he’s allowed to simply ride the bench for a year or two, could be an interesting project.
1- OLB Zack Baun
2a- OT Josh Jones
2b- WR Isaiah Hodgins
3- DL Marlon Davidson
4a- OL Robert Hunt
4b- Jeremy Chinn
5- DT Davon Hamilton
6- WR Van Jefferson
7- OC Matt Hennessy